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BBC Wales's Claire Summers
"The film turned Dustin Hoffman into a star and this production could do the same for Matthew Rhys"
 real 28k

Thursday, 6 April, 2000, 20:47 GMT 21:47 UK
Rhys 'dances' his first night away
The Graduate
Kathleen Turner and Matthew Rhys in The Graduate
One of Wales's hottest young talents has been praised by his Hollywood co-star following the debut of their West End theatre production of The Graduate.

Film legend Kathleen Turner, who plays Mrs Robinson in the production, says she has really hit it off with her Welsh co-star Matthew Rhys.

"I call it dancing," she explained.

"When an actor really starts to move with you and respond to you it is kind of a dance, and Matthew started dancing."

The Cardiff-born actor takes the role of Benjamin Braddock - in which Dustin Hoffman made his name in the film version.

The much-anticipated opening - driven by the hype over Turner's decision to appear completely naked as Mrs Robinson - took place at London's Gielgud Theatre on Wednesday to a packed house.


Kathleen Turner and Matthew Rhys
Critics praised the couple's chemistry

Turner, 45, takes on the part played by Anne Bancroft in the 1967 film version.

Unlike Bancroft, however, Turner strips off to the skin to lure the young Benjamin.

Turner and the cast received a standing ovation at the end of the show.

Theatre critics were divided over the Turner's performance. But Rhys was praised for his American accent and the chemistry between the couple.

The West End show has so far sold more than 40,000 seats for its 10-week run and has the largest box office advances of any current play.

The best seats in the house have already sold out for the first month. And whatever the critics say, there is no doubt that it will continue to be a big draw.

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See also:

29 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Turner nudity boosts ticket sales
31 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Here's to you, Ms Turner
04 Apr 00 | Entertainment
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05 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Turner bares all in stage debut
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