Newest Review: ... farce ensues. But each time the comedy is punctuated with pathos- either from Anne Archer or Emily Norman as the mother and daughter who ... more
Not a 1st class play- but a clear 2:1 **UPDATED**
Date: 27/08/01, updated on 10/02/04 (1957 review reads)
Advantages: Anne Archer , The script, The music
Disadvantages: If you're sat in the gods- not so good!
Hi- if you have read this before- sorry- just added some new casting news to the end of the op
Like Art, The Graduate is now becoming known for it's casting. Kathleen Turner opened the play in March 2000 and due to her astounding portrayal of the man-eater - Mrs Robinson, the witty script and the nostalgia that the film provides – oh, and a nude scene, The Graduate was a huge success. Jerry Hall and Amanda Donohoe have also played the ageing seductress, delighting both the public and the critics. The latest actress to wear Mrs Robinson’s birthday suit and high heel shoes is Hollywood star, Anne Archer(Fatal Attraction, Short Cuts, Patriot Games).
The Graduate is set in 1960's California. Benjamin Braddock (Andres Williams) has graduated with honours! His parents see their ‘picket fence’ existence rocket out of all proportion as their friends rally round to share in their son's academic success. Benjamin, though, feels that he would benefit from some experience of real life rather than gloat about his academic past. When the seductive older woman Mrs Robinson (Anne Archer) strips in front of him, Benjamin realises that this lesson in life far exceeds the shallowness that awaits him following his success at school.
Anne Archer embraces the role of Mrs Robinson with such panache and a bitter sense of irony that the original snobbery surrounding her casting is quickly forgotten. She looks every each a toned beautiful older woman. You may be thinking that Anne Archer is miscast as she has always played the ‘apple pie’ Hollywood wife of Michael Douglas or Harrison Ford. But once you see Ms Archer spit out venomous lines to her stage daughter, you realise that she is every inch the middle aged mother looking for fun masking the fact that she is a bitter, twisted lonely alcoholic. She bur
ies the cosy ‘nuclear family’ roles that Hollywood has given her in the past and clearly revels in the transformation.
Andres Williams has a nasal American accent which most British actors seem to adopt but his comic timing is done to perfection. His scenes with Anne Archer bring out the best him as an actor. The way he stumbles out of his clothes and into bed reminds each of us about the comedy/poignancy of adolescence.
As the plot develops Benjamin realises that Mrs Robinson cannot offer him the one thing he craves which is love and understanding. She offers him drunken sex but is not interested in what he has to say. Elaine Robinson (Emily Norman), her daughter is interested in everything that Benjamin has to offer. The play then steps into third gear and comic farce ensues. But each time the comedy is punctuated with pathos- either from Anne Archer or Emily Norman as the mother and daughter who have nothing in common- apart from Benjamin!
The Graduate is as witty as the film. The fact that it is set in the sixties does not detract from the fact that Benjamin's story of rejection and despair replaced by seduction and an affair is ever relevant today.
If you are going to see the play for the nudity, then you are missing out on a great play besides. The nudity is brief but crucial to the plot. But if you keep watching beyond this, you will see an entertaining slice of American pie with plenty of cream and a bit of Simon and Garfunkel on the side.
Ok, so The Graduate is nothing original or new but if you’re a fan of the movie or you want to see a slick play with plenty of laughs and which will evoke memories of your teenage years then this is for you.
Get more info from: www.thegraduate.uk.com
or book tickets 24 hrs at:
*****U P D A T E******
Linda Gray is stepping into the role as Mrs Robinson after Anne Archer finishes h
er run on Sept 29. If you don't recall Linda Gray's name- does the name Sue Ellen from Dallas mean anything to you?!!!!!!
Thanks for reading,