Reviews For Friends #25: The Graduate, Crescent Theatre Birmingham

Terry Johnson’s adaptation of the much-loved Charles Webb’s 1963 novel has been brought to life again in this well-crafted effort from the Crescent Theatre.

A smash hit when it first came to the stage at London’s Gielgud Theatre in 2000, this production of The Graduate brings energy to the story of a strange affair between an intelligent but disillusioned college graduate, Benjamin, and the wife of his father’s oldest friend, the infamous Mrs Robinson. The night of Benjamin’s homecoming party sees him embark on a disastrous path of sexual discovery, deceit and love, when he falls for the Robinson’s daughter, Elaine. Ultimately, The Graduate delivers a painful lesson about adulthood and growing up.

The cast is dynamic, the witty comedy delivered with nuanced precision. Mr Braddock in particular is impressive, stealing the show with an effortless Californian drawl, his increasingly exasperated questioning getting big laughs with each and every ‘what, Ben?!’.

Benjamin is a confident performance, sharing a crackling chemistry with Mrs Robinson - her husky, dry delivery is both sexy and painfully uncomfortable, the manipulation of her prey wickedly cold.

Elaine is expertly influenceable and childishly pouty, sullenly stomping about the stage. The famous strip club scene is particularly funny, Elaine’s embarrassment hanging deliciously thick in the air.

A slick set brings added style to the whole affair and ensures the hot pace keeps up, and a healthy sprinkling of Simon & Garfunkel throughout sets the period in a nice nod to the film.

An exuberant tonic to this September gloom. Prescribe yourself a dose before it closes and the cold nights set in.

Runs until: 12th September 2015


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