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WARMING TREND: NICOLE KIDMAN ON THE LONDON STAGE

Hollywood star Nicole Kidman is wowing London audiences and some of the world's most hard-bitten critics with a demanding and highly erotic theater role in which she has sex with five men.

The Australian-born Kidman plays five characters in "The Blue Room" at London's tiny Donmar Warehouse theater, winning rave reviews in British newspapers on Wednesday.

"She is not just a star: She genuinely delivers the goods," said the Guardian's Michael Billington.

Kidman, 31, wife of film heartthrob Tom Cruise, produces a "superbly differentiated gallery of women -- from skittish, deerlike prostitute to an hilariously grand, throaty actress," wrote the Independent's critic. Charles Spencer of the Daily Telegraph was sorely disappointed that the "achingly beautiful" actress failed to take her clothes off as often as her co-star Iain Glen.

"You are, however, treated to some tantalizing, willowy glimpses that are far more erotic than a brazen full-frontal," added Spencer, who concluded that "The Blue Room" is "pure theatrical Viagra."

The play, an adaptation of "La Ronde" written 98 years ago by Arthur Schnitzler, is a daisy chain of sexual encounters in which Kidman and Glenn play a series of characters whose lives interlock.

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