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The Independent Culture
In Woody Allen's forthcoming Bullets over Broadway, Dianne Wiest delivers a fabulously over-the-top performance as a grande dame of the American stage, all booming voice swamped in cloche hat and foxfur, soul- searching hand-movements amplified by extravagant overuse of cigarette holder. She deigns to grace John Cusack's first Broadway play, thereby guaranteeing it critical attention and an audience. Sound familiar?

Frances de la Tour may well be giving a devastating performance in Three Tall Women, but audiences are queuing for Maggie Smith. The Duchess of Malfi, which will replace it, was originally destined for a short season at Greenwich, but once Juliet Stevenson was cast, the producer Duncan Weldon came on board with a tour and a West End run.

Weldon has been counting the cost (quite literally) of such manouevures with the Cell Mates/Stephen Fry fiasco. His next gambit is casting Raquel Welch (above) as Epifania Fitzfassenden in Shaw's The Millionairess. Welch is famous for what used to be described as "sex appeal". Given her observation "if you have physical attractiveness you don't have to act", her British stage-debut is exciting comment if not exactly an exciting event. Whatever happens, autograph hounds and Hello! magazine will be there on what promises to be an impossibly glamorous first night.

The last available tickets for `Three Tall Women' are on 13, 14 & 15 April at Wyndham's Theatre (071-369 1736). `The Duchess of Malfi' opens there on 25 April. `The Millionairess' opens in May at a theatre to be announced