Review: The Graduate

Review of Article 19’s production of ‘The Graduate’ directed by Jenny Davis and produced by Jen Symes.

By Will Amott & Ciara Cohen-Ennis

This week, Article 19 put on an adaptation of the The Graduate. The 1967 film of the same name was partly famous for its incredible soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkel, and it was great to see that Article 19 had a live three piece band behind the audience opening the show and entertaining throughout with Mrs Robinson, The Sound of Silence and other classics.

The Graduate is about an intelligent boy named Benjamin (Jacob Lovick) who was top of his class and a credit to his family. However, Benjamin doesn’t know what to do with himself and doesn’t wish to be a teacher, like his parents hope. At his graduation party he refuses to show his face, until a friend of his parents, Mrs Robinson (the standout performance from Nanci Veitch), enters his bedroom.

Mrs Robinson attempts to seduce Benjamin, which he finds very uncomfortable and declines… For about five minutes of stage-time. They are soon having an affair.

Elaine Robinson (Clare Dodkins), the daughter of his middle-aged temptress, then enters the scene. His parents want Benjamin to marry her and, despite his initial attempts to put her off by taking her to watch a stripper (a confident, salty Amy Mills), Benjamin can’t hide his feelings for Elaine very long.

Lovick’s performance was clearly influenced by Dustin Hoffman in the film, and he seemed quite well cast as Benjamin, providing a lot of dry humour in the play, although his accent fluctuated a lot. Dodkins brilliantly portrayed the innocence and naivety of Elaine in her early scenes, but faltered slightly when a new strength was required of her character in the play’s dénouement.

There was an effective use of the space in the dance studio, with actors shouting from outside the room and coming up the aisle. This was particularly notable in the final scene where Mr Robinson (a credible Jack J Fairley) ran up the aisle with a bat flailing around, trying to hit Benjamin. The play was well directed and cast overall. Amy Dear and Dan Burke were stuck with the thankless roles of Benjamin’s parents, but did a good job, and their accents – alongside Fairley and Veitch – were always on point.

Performances were the 4th, 5th, and 6th of March (Week 9).

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