Her Majesty’s Theatre, opens Sept 24, 2013 for limited season
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Review also published in Herald Sun online Thurs Sep 26, 2013. KH
There are plenty of cheesy laughs in this production of The Graduate starring the lean and lovely Jerry Hall, but the show feels strangely unsatisfying – and just a little bit tired.
The play, written by the original director, Terry Johnson, was adapted from the naughty, funny and enormously successful 1967 movie starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft, and written by masters of comedy, Calder Willingham and Buck Henry.
Benjamin’s character is not very likeable (didn’t we love Hoffman’s Ben?) because he is totally self-absorbed, rude, lacking compassion and never gets his comeuppance, so I wanted to shout at Elaine in the wedding scene, “Don’t marry him! He’s a jerk!”
Rob Howell ‘sset design seems to entrap the characters in a domestic prison, surrounding them with a version of over-sized, timber cupboard doors.
The production could use the music of the period to greater advantage, particularly that famous song by Simon and Garfunkle, Mrs. Robinson.
This stage version of The Graduate is almost sketch comedy in style, and will appeal to those who are not looking for a taxing night of provocative or artsy theatre but want a good laugh and a simple story.
The production first opened in London in 2000 and it feels as if the form got stuck and is now being directed by the numbers.
But, heck, the audience laughed at the old-fashioned quips and clapped like seals after every scene so it must be doing something right. Who am I to quibble?
By Kate Herbert
Original Director- Terry Johnson
Australian Director - Jo Turner