‘Blackbird’ review: Jeff Daniels, Michelle Williams amaze

Nine years ago, “Blackbird” — Scottish playwright David Harrower’s deeply troubling but absolutely riveting drama about a young woman confronts the middle-aged man that she had a sexual relationship with when she was just 12 years old — premiered off-Broadway with Jeff Daniels and Alison Pill.

Despite rave reviews, Joe Mantello’s production ultimately did not transfer to Broadway, perhaps due to the subject matter. And although a film adaptation with Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn (under the new title “Una”) will be released later this year, the play has not been seen in New York since 2007.

In a much welcome return, “Blackbird” is finally on Broadway, with Daniels being joined by Michelle Williams. Mantello once again serves as director.

In “Blackbird,” 15 years have passed since Ray and Una’s last night together, which ended with Ray being arrested, publicly shamed and sentenced to prison. He has since moved away and restarted his life under a new identity.

Una, who has become increasingly unstable, unexpectedly sees Ray’s photo in a magazine and then tracks him down at his new place of work. Scared and caught by surprise, Ray drags her into an empty employee break room, out of the sight of his co-workers. Alone, they recall the past and trade accusations about who should bear responsibility.

It is a lean and muscular piece of drama, where two emotionally damaged characters with a terrible past are brought together for an uncomfortable reunion that is sure to end in further disaster and trauma.

Mantello, whose production of “The Humans” just transferred to Broadway, once again shows how he can draw out fully-developed performances from great actors that are both believable and richly detailed.

The interplay between Daniels and Williams could not be rawer or more dramatically charged. From the start, Daniels is jumpy and terrified, while Williams starts off as playful and confident and then lets her guard down in reliving the past.

If you go

“Blackbird” plays at the Belasco Theatre through June 11. 111 W. 44th St., blackbirdbroadway.com.