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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 October, 2003, 01:30 GMT 02:30 UK
Sales poor for no-nudity Graduate
Glynis Barber
Glynis Barber opted not to appear naked in the show
Actress Glynis Barber's decision not to appear naked in a stage production of The Graduate appeared to have hit sales for its debut at an Essex theatre.

The Cliffs Pavillion Theatre, Southend wanted to renegotiate its contracts after it emerged Barber would only wear a towel during a seduction scene.

Leading ladies including Kathleen Turner and Jerry Hall had stripped off during West End performances.

But just 200 out of 1,600 seats had been sold for its premiere on Tuesday.

The Graduate, best known as the film starring Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman, was a huge hit during a two-year run in the West End of London.

Its regional tour opened in Cambridge last month, and Barber, 47, was not naked there for the scene with young lover Benjamin, played by Andres Williams.

'Major selling point'

"We sold about 200 seats," said theatre marketing manager Paul Driscoll.

"That's less than we would normally sell for an opening night. It's hard to say whether the nudity controversy has put people off."

Theatregoers gathered at the front of the auditorium to watch Barber stand with her back to the audience holding a towel across her waist during the bedroom scene.

In later scenes, she quickly jumped into bed after undressing and another actress performed a striptease wearing skimpy briefs and stockings.

Mr Driscoll added: "It may be that the publicity has given the impression that the play had been cancelled.

"We never threatened to cancel, we simply raised our concerns because the nudity scene had been the major selling point when the play appeared in the West End."

Producer Sacha Brooks said on Monday: "The theatre raised some concerns because they thought she would appear nude and asked to renegotiate the terms of the contract.

"We said no and asked if they would cancel. But they haven't cancelled."

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