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Wednesday, 26 April, 2000, 10:05 GMT 11:05 UK
Duffy finds feet in Art
Patrick Duffy, Paul Freeman and Richard Thomas
Patrick Duffy, with fellow cast members Paul Freeman and Richard Thomas
Former Dallas star Patrick Duffy was given a warm reception by theatre-goers as he made his debut in London's West End.

Duffy, who played Bobby Ewing in the hit US soap, was applauded on to the stage as he took his bow in Art at the Wyndham's Theatre.

He plays Serge in the award-winning comedy drama about a group of friends who are saddled with a blank canvas that cost 200,000 French francs.

Also starring in the play are British actor Paul Freeman as the snobbish Marc and Richard Thomas, known to millions as John-Boy in TV show The Waltons.

Richard Thomas and Patrick Duffy
Former Dallas star Patrick Duffy with Art co-star Richard Thomas

The latest cast replaced former Ballykissangel star Stephen Tompkinson, Four Weddings and A Funeral actor James Fleet and former EastEnders actor Michael French.

After the show, audience members said they had been impressed with the trio's opening night.

Psychiatric nurse Ralph Qualpiere, on holiday in London from Cleveland, Ohio, said: "I thought in that role Patrick Duffy was perfect.

"There seemed to be one or two minor hiccups but they weren't that noticeable, and I thought the actors were all very good. Thomas's monologue was excellent."

Typecast

Tony Lee, 43, also praised Duffy, who made his name in The Man From Atlantis, but admitted that it was difficult not to think of him as Bobby.

"Patrick Duffy was very good but he was no different really to how he was in Dallas," he said. "He was almost typecast in this role."

Mr Lee, who appeared as an extra at John-Boy's wedding in the 1994 TV film The Walton Wedding, said he thought Thomas had stolen the show.

"Richard Thomas is a genuine actor, and his lines were the most difficult. For the first time on a London stage he was brilliant, and it's hard to imagine anyone else doing better in that role," he enthused.

The new cast is the 15th to appear on the London stage since Art made its debut in 1996. Other actors who have filled the roles include Albert Finney, Tom Courtney, Nigel Havers and comedian Jack Dee.

The current trio will be in the play, written by Yasmina Reza and translated by Christopher Hampton, for 12 weeks until 16 July.

See also:

23 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Duffy joins Art cast
14 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Priestley's West End debut
08 Jul 99 | Entertainment
Skinner joins Art cast
06 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Risqué Kathleen divides critics
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