One-time Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin brought down the house in his London stage debut Wednesday night, but his love scenes drew mixed reviews.
Mac’s been absent from the silver screen since 1994’s Getting Even With Dad. The former child star took the six-year hiatus once he hit the awkward teen years.
Now, at age 20, Culkin’s back in the limelight with his mostly well-received turn in the new play Madame Melville. He plays a 15-year-old American schoolboy in 1960s Paris who’s seduced by his 30-year-old literature teacher, played by French actress Irene Jacob.
Culkin stopped acting at the age of 14 after a bitter split with his father, who was also his manager.
“I came to a point at high school when I decided I should get back into acting, only this time I have control. I didn’t before,” he told Reuters after the premiere.
Of his comeback role, he said, “I couldn’t have picked anything more perfect. Sure, you can find parallels between mine and Carl’s life.”
While Culkin’s performance met with approval (one reviewer called him “absolutely superb,”) some observed how odd it was to see Mac play out scenes from the Kama Sutra onstage.
Stand-up comedian David Baddiel told BBC News, “He could really do it. I enjoyed it. But he hasn’t changed as much as I thought he would [have] considering as he’s gone through puberty.” Other patrons deemed the seduction scenes “awkward” and “ridiculous.”
Those racy scenes, unlike other recent American celebs’ flesh-baring turns on the London boards, were done fully clothed.
At the end of the play, Culkin received three curtain calls, coming back shyly for his final bow and looking relieved that the opening night was all over, according to the BBC.
Madame Melville runs at the Vaudeville Theatre through March 6.
Reuters contributed to this story.