Review by: Paul Towers, 31 May 2017
The Gradute by Terry Johnson from the novel by Charles Webb
Curve & West Yorkshire Playhouse co-production
Curve 20 May – 10 June 2017
Sometimes art mirrors real life and current local events make the story of The Graduate especially resonate with the people of Leicestershire at the moment.
A predatory older woman is the fantasy of many a teenage boy. But the reality tends to lead to a whole heap of trouble. France’s current President seems to be the exception that proves the rule.
In the case of Benjamin Braddock, gauche 20 year old virgin, his induction into adulthood by the alcoholic, frustrated Mrs Robinson very nearly spoils his chance of true happiness with someone who actually understands his almost autistic character.
This story of corruption and degradation could so easily have been mind numbingly tedious but the script is littered with great lines and hilariously awkward situations. While Catherine McCormack as Mrs Robinson has all the best one liners, knowingly smiling as she pulls her plaything’s strings, Jack Monaghan as Benjamin wrings great laughs from both physical situations and spot on timing of pauses.
Directed by Lucy Bailey there is great use of audio visuals to show Benjamin’s fantasy world and his being torn between mother and daughter.
The set by Mike Britton is a mass of swirling net curtains with a bed which dances around the stage.
Whilst the first half shows Benjamin being drawn deeper and deeper into the bed of the bored, predatory and lascivious Mrs Robinson, the second half features a rather surprising and effective fight as Mr Robinson, confronted by his cuckold, proceeds to smash his way through doors, a la The Shining, in an attempt to emasculate Benjamin.
It struck me that watching the 1968 film you missed so much of the comedy of the stage play by virtue of not having an audience to laugh along with.
The Graduate is at Curve until 10 June and continues to tour. Full details of future dates at http://bit.do/dt3DeFirst published in Western Gazette