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Last Updated:  Thursday, 6 March, 2003, 13:15 GMT
Shaw stars in blue show

By Tom Bourton
BBC News Online

Tracy Shaw and Jason Connery
Tracy Shaw and Jason Connery both bare all during the play
If anyone thought Tracy Shaw would follow the well-trodden path from soap opera to C-list obscurity, she has proved them wrong so far.

A few months after quitting Coronation Street, the actress is not assessing her panto options, but is half-way through a gruelling national tour with one of the most talked-about plays of recent years.

The Blue Room, which features full-frontal nudity, shot to notoriety in 1998 when Hollywood superstar Nicole Kidman - under the direction of Sam "American Beauty" Mendes - starred during its West End run.

"I was very nervous at first with the thought of having to do it, but the play is about sex and relationships," said Shaw, as the play nears Cardiff's New Theatre.

"Now it is just part of what we do onstage each performance to make the show work," she added.

The play, which features a series of sexual liaisons in pursuit of love and lust, has attracted controversy since it began.

We thought, if the audience is able to see us both naked early on, it makes the play more about the search and the characters
Jason Connery, The Blue Room

At its debut in Germany in 1921, La Ronde - the original Arthur Schnitzler play - was shut down by police and the actors were put on trial.

And this latest adaptation by David Hare, which co-stars Jason Connery, is proving no exception.

The opening night saw a herd of photographers leap up during Shaw's first nude scene, taking their pictures and then running out, with the results plastered over the next morning's tabloids.

And last week, Shaw walked into a set, suffering concussion and cutting her eye-brow, forcing the cancellation of two shows.

Naked anticipation

Connery and Shaw, who each take on five characters each, had actually tried to rearrange the play in an attempt to shift its emphasis away from the nudity.

"We thought, if the audience is able to see us both naked early on, it makes the play more about the search and the characters," said Connery.

"People were so in anticipation of Nicole Kidman being naked, it altered the dramatic impact," he added.

And Connery, who praised Shaw's bravery in agreeing to follow Nicole Kidman, is not worried that the attraction of seeing a former soap star and a former Robin of Sherwood naked is keeping the turnstiles spinning.

"People are coming in a voyeuristic nature - as long as they are coming to see it," he said.

The play runs at Cardiff New Theatre from Monday 10 to Friday 15 March.

Street's Shaw to leave
20 Sep 02 |  TV and Radio
Blue fever hits New York
14 Dec 98 |  Entertainment
Kidman's blue deal
12 Nov 98 |  Entertainment
Kidman makes West End debut
10 Sep 98 |  Entertainment

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