Photos – Jeff Busby
It’s an iconic role for an iconic woman. Jerry Hall – rock star wife, model and mother takes on Mrs Robinson as made famous by Anne Bancroft in the 1967 film, The Graduate with effortless grace and wit.
In what has become a film ingrained into American culture, Charles Webbs novel about the seductive older woman (Hall) and her affair with the much younger Benjamin (played by Tim Dashwood) consistently tops the favourites lists of fans and critics alike.
This cougar/toy boy relationship is just the icing on the weirdly incestuous wedding cake as Benjamin attempts to woo Elaine (Claire Lovering), Mrs Robinson’s far more age appropriate daughter.
Between jealousy, confusion, anger and romance, Benjamin bumbles his way into Elaine’s heart much to Mrs Robinson’s dismay and Mr Robinson’s (Luke Hewitt) fury.
While the premise is odd, the characters could be plucked from any current neighbourhood. A bored housewife, over educated and under experienced graduate student, naïve schoolgirl and overbearing parents who push their own ideals and morals onto their unwilling children.
Dashwood is perfectly cast as the drifting, dashing and a little bit slimy Benjamin, whose lust for the Robinson women shakes the quiet 1960s suburban calm into disarray and scandal.
Yet it is Hall that the audience has come to see, the world-class actress who has graced stages from New York, to London and everywhere in between, is spectacular as Mrs Robinson (a role that seems to have been waiting for her).
While Hall bares all (yes she does appear nude), it is her deep understanding of the alcoholic and damaged character that is most revealing. Both dark and wickedly funny, The Graduate, is a film born from the brief renaissance of American cinema in the late 60s that is as ever important and relevant today as it was then.
Backed by the incredible songs of Simon and Garfunkel and The Beach Boys, The Graduate is an irresistible piece of theatre, a little bit naughty and a whole lot of fun.
Kay & McLean Productions Pty Ltd in association with Michael Coppel Theatrical
based on the novel by Charles Webb
Directed by Jo Turner
Venue: Her Majesty’s Theatre | 219 Exhibition St Melbourne
Dates: 21 September – 13 October 2013