`Graduate' a little too up-close and personal

Play overwhelms in small setting


Edge Theater offers the second of a pair of plays about randy older women with its production of a classic example: “The Graduate,” adapted by well-known, award-winning British playwright Terry Johnson from the screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry and the novel by Charles Webb.

Leads Chandler Darby as Benjamin Braddock and Patty Ionoff as Mrs. Robinson offer solid performances, although this is one movie that perhaps doesn't lend itself so well to a small theater where action so very much right in your face.

In any case, possible subtleties are lost.

Ionoff is an experienced performer and Darby just graduated from the excellent program at University of Northern Colorado.

The script calls for a mix of angry fathers charging about and one ditzy mother — plus Mrs. Robinson's daughter Elaine, who actually is the one Benjamin falls in love with.

Talented young Adrian Egolf plays Elaine, while Max Cabot portrays her father, Mr. Braddock's business partner and husband of the legendary Mrs. Robinson. Mr. Braddock is played by Randy Diamon, while Suzanna Wellens is Benjamin's frantic mother.

Each of these parental types is given to overacting — expressing anger and emotional upset by stomping about and yelling their lines, which gives an amateurish flavor to the production. Perhaps director Rick Yaconis can tone them down a bit?

Recent college graduate Benjamin has scholarship offers and seems slated for a bright future, but he's worrying about his future and unhappy. He hides out in his room — in his new diving suit and flippers. The alcoholic Mrs. Robinson appears in his doorway and starts making a move. Matters progress/regress from there, as readers will recall from the film.

The set includes several clever variations on the beds called for in the script, but all the scene changes are a bit too busy and distracting. Perhaps that fault is in the script's requirements.

Other cast members, who play multiple parts smoothly, are Bevin Antea, Dana Hart Lubeck and Peter Marullo.

If you go:

“The Graduate” plays through June 29 at The Edge Theater, 1560 Teller St. in Lakewood. Performances: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 6 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $24, theedgetheater.com, 303-232-0363.


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