|From In the Spotlight|
Majestic Theater, West Springfield
April 20 May 27
With the music of Simon and Garfunkel in the background - "Hello darkness, my old friend." the audience at the Majestic does meet up with an old friend. Certainly, one of the most popular movies of the 1960s was "The Graduate." For those who have not seen the big screen version in decades, this theatrical presentation is an instant reintroduction to familiar people in our society. For those who had never seen "The Graduate," the comedy, drama, and mores of those beginning-rebellious times are easily recognizable.
Considered risqu 40 year ago, the stage version might be considered dated. Yet the production staff deftly creates scenes as a look back to a point in our history - whether fondly or soberly remembered.
Benjamin Braddock enters center stage dressed snorkel-to-fins in scuba gear, protesting attending his own college graduation party. He's belligerent and sweet, courteous and loud, na ve and determined at the same time. Steve Petit, taking on the job of lead at the Majestic for the first time, has "saved himself" for the perfect role. Petit is physically short and cute (more than Dustin Hoffman who originated the role), and immediately endears himself to his live audience. He has a grasp of the fast-paced one-liners with facial and body expressions to match. In spite of our offense at Benjamin's lifestyle, we root for him.
The notorious Mrs. Robinson is portrayed Christine DeLisle - new to the Majestic. She is "a keeper" for any role that might suit the talents of this actress. She plays Mrs. R. as brash, egotistical, conniving, and damaged. Petit's expression of na vet balances with DeLisle's embodiment of bravado that one wishes there were even more scenes solely with this pair.
Christine Averill (Elaine Mrs. R's daughter/Benjamin's sweetheart) has the challenge of keeping up with both actors. A bit hesitant at first, she comes into her own throughout Act II, portraying an idealist young woman who any audience member can love. In his first acting role, Ted Hebert does a fine job at playing the humorous Mr. Braddock.
The set is purposely utilitarian, as colored backdrop panels move from side to side permitting scenes to flow swiftly and connoting a variety of stage areas that, in truth, do not exist.
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