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Last Updated: Monday, 13 October, 2003, 14:54 GMT 15:54 UK
Show goes on for Mrs Robinson
Glynis Barber
Ms Barber is best known from Dempsey And Makepeace
A play at the centre of a row over whether the leading lady should bare all will open on schedule on Tuesday.

The Graduate, best known as the film starring Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman, is due to run for a week at the Cliffs Pavilion Theatre in Southend, Essex.

Last month theatre managers raised concerns after discovering that leading lady Glynis Barber, who plays middle-aged seductress Mrs Robinson, would not appear naked during a seduction scene with her young lover Benjamin.

But on Monday producer Sacha Brooks said the controversy would not cause Barber, 47, star of the television detective series Dempsey and Makepeace, to alter her performance.

The Graduate 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, briefly appeared naked, after letting a towel slip during the 20-second seduction scene.

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

But during the regional tour, which opened in Cambridge last month, Barber's towel stays around her waist and Mr Brooks said nudity was never promised nor insisted upon.

"The show opens as planned," said Mr Brooks.

"Glynis Barber will perform in the way she has during the regional tour.

"The theatre never actually threatened to cancel. They 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."

'Remains committed'

Last month a spokeswoman for Southend 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."

On Monday a spokeswoman for the council said: "Southend Council and the Cliffs Pavilion Theatre are pleased to welcome The Graduate to Southend as part of its first UK tour.

"We wish the production cast and crew every success during their visit."

Here's no nude Mrs Robinson
10 Sep 03  |  Essex
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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