Joan Marcus-Boneau/Bryan-Brown/AP
October 17, 2008 08:00 AM

After weeks of rehearsals, Katie Holmes finally made her Broadway debut Thursday night in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons. How did she do?

Not surprisingly, Tom Cruise‘s mother, Mary Lee Mapother, thought she was “fantastic.”

Holmes’s director, Simon McBurney, is similarly impressed. “Her journey was immense,” he told PEOPLE. “It was awe-inspiring to watch her work. It was unexpected for me. She was charming, always ready to work … an amazing talent.”

But theater critics were less effusive.

“She handles her role … with neither distinction nor embarrassment,” declared Variety, noting that Holmes is overmatched by stage vets John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest and Patrick Wilson. But while she “lacks the technique to match her costars depths,” the trade journal does praise Holmes for her “attractive modesty.”

USA Today called Holmes’ performance “one note” and “strangely flat.” Still, they said, “she exhibits a girlish exuberance that could serve her well in certain stage roles.”

The New York Times chided to Dawson’s Creek alumna “italicizing every word” in her delivery. And, somewhat oddly, the New York Post barely even mentions Holmes – describing her only as “coltish.”

But Holmes did win over perhaps toughest critic in the audience, Arthur Miller’s daughter, Rebecca. (This is the first revival of the theater legend’s 1947 work since his death in 2005.)

“Katie Holmes is really right for the part,” Rebecca, a filmmaker who’s married to Daniel Day-Lewis, told reporters. “I’m only a little heartbroken that my father is not here.”

• With reporting by Jeffrey Slonim

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