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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 September 2007, 08:25 GMT 09:25 UK
Warm welcome for Almodovar play
Dame Diana Rigg
Dame Diana Rigg is one of the stars of the play
All About My Mother, the first English-language stage adaptation of a Pedro Almodovar film, received a warm welcome on its first night in London.

The play, which stars Dame Diana Rigg and Lesley Manville, opened at in south London's Old Vic Theatre.

Spanish director Almodovar was in the audience, accompanied by long-time muse Penelope Cruz, who has appeared in several of his films.

The play also features The League of Gentlemen's Mark Gatiss.

it's absolutely faithful to the story, to the spirit and to the characters
Director Pedro Almodovar

Manville, best-known for her work with film director Mike Leigh, plays Manuela, who arrives in Barcelona after the death of her teenage son to look for his father.

There she meets Huma Rojo (Rigg), an actress admired by her late son, and Sister Rosa (Joanne Froggatt).

The film - which won the Oscar for best foreign language film in 2000 - has been adapted for the stage by Samuel Adamson.

Almodovar told the Associated Press news agency (AP) the play was "very different from the script I wrote and at the same time it's absolutely faithful to the story, to the spirit and to the characters".

The Guardian's Michael Billington said: "Tom Cairns' fluent production contains some fine performances. Lesley Manville's Manuela has exactly the right mix of grit, love and endurance. Diana Rigg lends the diva a luminous blend of vulnerability and camp grandeur."

AP's Jill lawless said: "The understated performances provide a cooling British counterpoint to the play's Spanish heat. The resulting temperature, for the most part, is just right.

The play runs at the Old Vic until 24 November.

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