Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
When the stage adaptation of The Graduate hit the New York stage, there was a lot of talk about the infamous Mrs. Robinson showing up in her birthday suit. The character was made famous on film by Anne Bancroft. The Broadway version starred Kathleen Turner and then Lorraine Bracco. Now the touring production has hit DC in a limited run starring Morgan Fairchild. Sadly, Ms. Fairchild is the only thing that recommends this play.
Ms. Fairchild is very good as the boozy Mrs. Robinson. She is direct and caustic but still manages to convey a carefree attitude. Ms. Fairchild digs beneath the surface and the result is far more than a one-dimensional character. However, the play itself is lacking.
Writer Terry Johnson adapted the piece from the original book by Charles Webb and the screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry. Johnson, who also acts as director, added some original material of his own as well. Unfortunately, the piece ends up plodding along at a snail's pace and losing focus along the way.
The cast does its best to keep the energy up but the acting tends to be mediocre. Nathan Corddry plays Benjamin Braddock, the young graduate who is seduced by Mrs. Robinson. For the most part Corddry gives a strong performance. However, there are times when he seems to be lapsing into a Dustin Hoffman imitation. These moments don't come often but when they do, they are very noticeable. Winslow Corbett makes a fine effort as Elaine and has some successful scenes. William Hill and Corinna May play Benjamin's concerned parents. Both are a bit over-the-top and it is obvious they are acting the moment they utter their first lines.
The sets and costumes were designed by Rob Howell and they work well. The set is a wall of doors that are utilized in many ways, and the costumes are true to the time period.
Overall, The Graduate leaves a lot to be desired. Audiences should be aware that aside from nudity, sexual situations are portrayed. Unfortunately, none of those elements do anything to improve the play. The Graduate runs at Warner Theater through February 27th.
Benjamin Braddock: Nathan Corddry