The Graduate

Previewed 24 March 2000, Opened 5 April 2000, Closed 19 January 2002 at the Gielgud Theatre

Terry Johnson's stage adaptation of The Graduate in London

California in the Sixties.... Benjamin's got excellent grades, very pround parents and, since he helped Mrs Robinson with her zipper, a fine future behind him... A cult novel, a classic film, a quintessential hit of the Sixties, now Benjamin's disastrous sexual odyssey is brought vividly to life in this world stage premiere production.

"Would you like me to seduce you?.... Is that what you're trying to tell me?" "I want you to know that I'm available to you anytime you want."

Play by Terry Johnson, adapted from the Charles Webb novel, and the Calder Willingham and Buck Henry's movie screenplay.

The award-winning 1967 film, directed by Mike Nichols, starred Anne Bancroft as 'Mrs Robinson', Dustin Hoffman as 'Benjamin' and Katharine Ross as 'Elaine Robinson'. The film received seven Oscar nominations with Mike Nicholas winning for 'Best Director'.

The original cast featured Kathleen Turner as 'Mrs Robinson', Matthew Rhys as 'Benjamin Braddock', Kelly Reilly as 'Elaine Robinson', Colin Stinton as 'Mr Robinson', Paul Jesson as 'Mr Braddock', and Amanda Boxer as 'Mrs Braddock', with Alan Barnes, Geoffrey Towers, Sally Chattaway, Sara Bienvenu, and Josh Cohen - From Friday 24 March 2000 ('Opening Night' Wednesday 5 April 2000) to Saturday 29 July 2000.

The second cast featured Jerry Hall as 'Mrs Robinson', Josh Cohen as 'Benjamin Braddock', Lucy Punch as 'Elaine Robinson', Colin Stinton as 'Mr Robinson', Alex Giannini as 'Mr Braddock', and Amanda Boxer as 'Mrs Braddock' - from Monday 31 July 2000 ('Opening Night' Tuesday 8 August 2000) to Saturday 10 February 2001.

The third cast featured Amanda Donohoe as 'Mrs Robinson', Andres Williams as 'Benjamin Braddock', Coral Beed as 'Elaine Robinson', Stuart Milligan's Mr Robinson', Alex Giannini as 'Mr Braddock', and Lolly Susi as 'Mrs Braddock' - from Monday 12 February 2001 ('Opening Night' Wednesday 21 February 2001) to Saturday 9 June 2001.

The fourth cast featured Anne Archer as 'Mrs Robinson', Andres Williams as 'Benjamin Braddock', Coral Beed as 'Elaine Robinson', Stuart Milligan as 'Mr Robinson', Paul Birchard as 'Mr Braddock', and Sandra Dickinson as 'Mrs Braddock' - from Monday 11 June 2001 to Saturday 29 September 2001.

The fifth cast featured Linda Gray as 'Mrs Robinson', David Nicolle as 'Benjamin Braddock', Sarah Solemani as 'Elaine Robinson', Rolf Saxon as 'Mr Robinson', Paul Birchard as 'Mr Braddock', and Sandra Dickinson as 'Mrs Braddock' - from Monday 1 October 2001 to Saturday 19 January 2002.

Directed by Terry Johnson, with designs by Rob Howell, lighting by Hugh Vanstone, and sound by Mike Walker.

Terry Johnson's other London theatre plays include Dead Funny.

"The Graduate, although retaining cute observations on the angst involved both in growing up and parenting, does not sit easily on the stage, despite Johnson's slick, almost cinematic direction. But the sheer talent and star power of Kathleen Turner as she seduces the son of close family friends before seeing him fall for her daughter makes the evening catch fire-even when she's fully dressed... It is Ms Turner who ensures the production graduates with honours. Here's to you, Mrs Robinson." The News of the World

"Why should a feisty fortysomething actress like Kathleen Turner want to have any truck with a stage adaptation of this material?... Turner's willingness may have something to do with the fact that, in Terry Johnson's new version, Mrs Robinson is allowed to retain a certain dignity. Instead of being left gaping in outrage at the church as Ben rescues her daughter from marriage to a square, she is shown to be spikily magnanimous in defeat. With her highhanded humour still intact, it is she who urges the girl to take a risk with Ben and live a little... In Johnson's spare, elegant production Turner carries herself with a witty drop-dead insouciance and she times Mrs Robinson's putdowns with a nice, throatily experienced aplomb." The Independent

"Jerry Hall daringly exposed more of herself than was wise last night... Miss Hall's unwise exposure had simply to do with her decision to take a role for which she was miscast and far too inexperienced. She makes a valiant, careful stab at Mrs Robinson and never resorts to extravagance, even when playing drunk. But her acting tends to be as wan and undernourished as an over-dieting model... Johnson's lazy, underdeveloped production, hampered by Rob Howell's odd, empty stage set, with louvre panels instead of walls, allows the pace to slacken as well and the specifically Jewish humour is unrealised... The Graduate remains a sharp satire upon an materialist sector of American society, where dysfunctional families turn arid and aimless. But with Turner's departure and Rhys's, the production has lost its sting. Miss Hall stamps the night with her beauty and it's not enough." The London Evening Standard

"Whenever Jerry Hall comes on stage, this otherwise enjoyable show's energy level dips disastrously. She looks like a lifesize Barbie doll after a near-suicidal diet and a drastic breast reduction job, and speaks as if someone were pulling a string in her back... To be fair, there are times when Hall's performance rises to mediocrity, and one when she is actually rather good. This is when she and her daughter Elaine get sloshed together... Miss Hall, who probably only takes a couple of sips of wine, is a surprisingly persuasive stage drunk." The Daily Telegraph

"Amanda Donohoe is the latest actress to bare her all in the role of Mrs Robinson, the female lead in this play better known as the film that made Dustin Hoffman a name... While Ms Donohoe makes her comic mark as a stately, vodka-fuelled grade one bitch, this cast of British actors fails to convince as Californian suburbanites who get their knickers in a collective twist. The hotel bedroom scenes remain a pleasure... in Terry Johnson's adaptation with its cheap hints of the film's Simon and Garfunkel score." The Daily Express

"And here's to you, Mrs Robinson... for the third time of asking in Terry Johnson's smart, funny play that both evokes the film and does quite a lot else that is new, fresh and different... Amanda Donohoe rises to the occasion and not just when she briefly reveals a fine, athletic body in the murky light... Fetching in black lingerie, with her hair swept up at the disrupted wedding, plays a desperate woman on top, and gets a killer snap into her lines... The new Benjamin and Elaine of Andres Williams and Coral Beed are exceptionally fine, too." The Daily Mail

The Graduate in London at the Gielgud Theatre previewed from 24 March 2000, opened on 5 April 2000, and closed on 19 January 2002