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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 September, 2003, 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK
Here's no nude Mrs Robinson
Glynis Barber
Ms Barber is best known from Dempsey And Makepeace
A seaside theatre's hopes of persuading television star Glynis Barber to bare all in The Graduate are likely to be dashed, its producers have revealed.

The Cliffs Pavilion Theatre in Southend, Essex, is said to be threatening to cancel its booking of the play next month unless the actress appears naked.

Ms Barber, best known as the star of the television detective series Dempsey And Makepeace, plays middle-aged seductress Mrs Robinson.

The theatre expected her to appear naked during a seduction scene with her young lover Benjamin.

But a spokesman for the show's producer said on Wednesday that Ms Barber, 47, would not be changing her performance during a nationwide regional tour of the play.

Letting the towel slip

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

Publicity about the production centred on the fact that the actresses who played Mrs Robinson, including Kathleen Turner and Jerry Hall, bared all after letting a towel slip during the 20-second seduction scene.

But during the regional tour, which opened in Cambridge last week, Ms Barber's towel stays around her waist.

Actress Kathleen Turner in the role of Mrs Robinson alongside  Matthew Rhys as Benjamin Braddock
In London actress Kathleen Turner played the role of Mrs Robinson

Producer Sacha Brooks says nudity was never promised nor insisted upon.

A spokesman for Mr Brooks said: "We have never promised nudity during the regional tour and Glynis Barber will not be changing her performance in Southend, as far as I am aware.

"We have had this complaint and threat of cancellation from the theatre in Southend.

"We have had no other complaints and I think the show is booked into about 20 theatres in total."

He added: "I'm not sure what's happening at the moment in terms of discussion with the theatre. I know a lot of letters have been exchanged."

No-one was available at the theatre on Wednesday morning.

But its general manager Charles Mumford told the Daily Telegraph: "The issue is how the show was sold to me. Clearly if she is not doing it in the nude, then she is not doing it, but that is not how it was sold.

"This was a famous scene in London."

'Issue not nakedness'

On Wednesday evening, a spokeswoman for Southend on Sea Borough Council, which manages the theatre, said it was believed that the play was "sold to the theatre on the basis of its West End success".

"The theatre's management team recently became aware that this may not be the case, and has been seeking clarification from the production company," she said.

"We would like to make it absolutely clear that the theatre has not threatened nor considered the option to cancel this production, and remains committed to it.

"The real issue here is not whether Glynis Barber appears naked, but the integrity of the business discussions that have taken place between the council and the production company."

Mr Brooks said the scene was performed in dim lighting and each actress in London had used the towel in a slightly different fashion.


SEE ALSO:
Dallas star Graduates to West End
29 Aug 01  |  Entertainment
Hall fails critics' Graduate test
09 Aug 00  |  Entertainment
Jerry takes nude Graduate role
13 Jun 00  |  Entertainment
Turner bares all in stage debut
05 Apr 00  |  Entertainment
Turner nudity boosts ticket sales
29 Mar 00  |  Entertainment


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