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Thursday, 19 October, 2000, 09:12 GMT 10:12 UK
Curtain calls for Culkin
Madame Melville
Culkin receives a lesson in love from his teacher
Former child star Macaulay Culkin earned three curtain calls on his return to acting on Wednesday night, starring in a play on the West End stage.

Culkin - the star of 90s blockbuster hits such as Home Alone and My Girl - has been out of the limelight for six years.

The 20-year-old actor relaunched his career in the world première of Madame Melville by Richard Nelson at London's Vaudeville Theatre.


Culkin is absolutely superb in a memory play of wonderful delicacy, tenderness and humour

Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph

The show is set in 1966 in Paris. Culkin plays a 15-year-old American schoolboy who is seduced by his beautiful 30-year-old literature teacher, Claudie Melville.

Culkin performed to a packed house, which included many celebrities. Most felt Culkin was back on the road to success.

Comedian David Baddiel said: "He could really do it. I enjoyed it. But he hasn't changed as much as I thought he would considering as he's gone through puberty."

Daily Telegraph theatre critic Charles Spencer was also full of praise for the actor.

He said: "Culkin is absolutely superb in a memory play of wonderful delicacy, tenderness and humour."

He predicted that Madame Melville would have a long run.

"This is one of those rare evenings when you become suddenly aware of being in the presence of something rare and special," he said.

Kama Sutra

Unlike the current West End production of The Graduate, there is no nudity involved in the seduction scenes in Madame Melville.

It does, on the other hand, see Culkin and Jacob sample some of the positions of the Kama Sutra.

It was at these delicate moments in the action that some members of the audience thought the still boyish Culkin began to look somewhat "awkward".

Macaulay Culkin and his wife Rachel Miner
Culkin and his wife Rachel Miner in 1998

Culkin dropped out of acting at the age of 14 with an estimated fortune of more than $30m, accumulated from his work on 15 movies.

He quit the business after an acrimonious split with his former manage - his father.

He then "divorced" himself from his warring parents to gain control of his money and pay off their legal debts.

He later married at the age of 17 but is now separated from his wife Rachel Miner.

On Wednesday, the audience demonstrated their appreciation for Culkin's re-emergence from obscurity.

He received three curtain calls, coming back shyly for his final bow and looking relieved that the opening night was all over.

Madame Melville runs at the Vaudeville Theatre until 6 March.

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See also:

19 Oct 00 | Entertainment
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