March 28, 2000 08:41am
Naked Kathleen Turner Stuns London Theater World
(LONDON) -- American film star Kathleen Turner was the talk of London on Tuesday after stripping naked for the steamy seduction scene in the stage production of the 1967 film ``The Graduate''
The 45-year-old star's naked portrayal of Mrs. Robinson in a preview show at the Gielgud Theater on Monday night revived memories of Australian actress Nicole Kidman's sensational London stage debut two years ago when she also appeared nude.
Kidman's performance in ``The Blue Moon'', staged by Oscar winner Sam Mendes, was deemed ``pure theatrical Viagra'' by one highly impressed theater critic at the time.
In a front page report, the London Evening Standard forecast that Turner's show-all performance would assure The Graduate of a ticket sellout similar to what Kidman achieved.
Turner's naked appearance is a reprise of one of the most memorable seduction scenes in cinema history.
In the film version, Anne Bancroft tantalizes the audience as she peels off her stockings before a virginal Dustin Hoffman.
She later emerges from the bathroom apparently naked but the camera cut is so swift audiences are left wondering what they did or did not see.
But Turner leaves nothing to the imagination. She steps from the bathroom with a towel wrapped about her before she drops it and plays the rest of the scene naked.
``At the moment the towel came off a kind of gasp -- of surprise or delight or horror -- went around the audience,'' the Standard said.
The newspaper said the actress looked ``terrific'', adding: ''The applause was riotous.''
Turner and her young co-star Matthew Rhys received a standing ovation for the performance.
``Kathleen bares where Bancroft didn't dare,'' the Standard headline said.