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Review: The Graduate, King's Theatre, Gloucester

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 19, 2014

By Jenny Eastwood

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The Graduate

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AMATEUR dramatics just got a whole lot racier in Gloucester.

Taking on The Graduate which is forever associated with the iconic Dustin Hoffman film was ambitious to say the least but the Phoenix Players certainly did it in style.

It started off in a rather tame fashion with half the audience humming away to Simon and Garfunkel as the curtains opened at the Kings Theatre.

But this atmosphere soon changed once the actors graced the stage with powerful performances throughout.

The plot centres around disillusioned university graduate Benjamin Braddock in 1960s California who falls for a substantially older woman Mrs Robinson.

It is an intense play which, alongside minimalist staging, meant the small cast had to get it right.

But belting performances particularly from Luke Ellis as Benjamin and Dawn Hemmings as Mrs Robinson captivated the audience from start to finish.

Their rapport was fantastic showing comic timing one minute and sexual chemistry the next.

It may have been an amateur production but neither was afraid of going the extra mile for their roles with both stripping off for certain scenes - which was certainly one way of grabbing the audience’s attention.

Their supporting cast also really made the show and Barry Page as Mr Robinson deserves particular mention for his performance which was both funny and moving. And Kimberley Martin as the stripper complete with a tassel or two really stole the show in her scene.

This is a play not for the fainthearted given the nudity content but it was a powerhouse of a production and a great night out.

Go see it and support this drama group and the gem of a little city centre theatre.

The Graduate runs until Saturday with shows t 7.30pm. Tickets: full £9, concessions £8 and students £5

Call 01452 300130.

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