Reviews of 'Disposing of the Body'    

Reviews of 'The Graduate'

Review by June Atkins, BBC Lincolnshire website

 

The reviewer began the article with a detailed synopsis of the plot and concluded with the following......

 

St Nicolas Players slip into this stage adaptation as easily as Mrs Robinson slips out of her underwear! With a minimal set and very much static most of the time the lighting and various accessories work well, the selective sounds of Simon and Garfunkel, light American accents and fast pace strike the necessary balance of a cast with impeccable timing and ability.  

 

Fiona Parish as Mrs Robinson conquered beautifully the allure persona identified with the femme fatale seductress, the unsympathetic mother battling with the ravages of alcohol and a comic touching vulnerability. The requirement of a nude scene dictates the capability of a truly resplendent actress Fiona Parish fits this category with aplomb touched with the sheer panache worthy of supreme status!

 

Paul Hilliar as Benjamin Braddock displayed the unsure sexually unaware young man, with a comic presence of self-consciousness. A role Dustin Hoffman called his own - until now. Paul is heading towards the James Dean boyish ways to the fully aware Jonny Depp - an extremely talented young actor and I have been known to say - watch this space!  

 

Elaine Robinson (Victoria Bunting) lived up to her innocent role, her timing was superb in fact she certainly had an air of Katharine Ross who played the original movie actress and Natalie Wood whom ironically turned the role down. The on stage scream ensured we all knew she also had a healthy pair of lungs (thanks for that Victoria!).

 

And last but not least our stripper Danielle Parkin got a few tickers working overtime, the word contortionist springs to mind, what that girl could do with a chair! I could do that - with the help of a chiropractor.

 

Stage adaptations of iconic movies can often be extremely difficult, St Nicolas Players however achieved the ultimate - a runaway success and sublime production.

 

Review by Elizabet Wood, Spalding Target

 

 

“And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson…”

              …and indeed the entire cast and crew of this adventurous and ambitious production.

 

The St. Nicolas Players ensured they achieved a First Class Honours Degree Performance during their final show to celebrate their tenth anniversary. Leaving the stage after a second curtain call and the audience still applauding!

 

Director Philip Bosworth and Producer Marilyn Morris certainly know how to challenge their actors, in time honoured tradition; ten years ago they were the production team responsible for the society’s first production, Steel Magnolias, and anyone following the past productions of the society will know that they seem to thrive on dramas that really challenge both the actors and stage crew!

 

The Graduate is certainly in this category, not just because it has only been performed by half-a-dozen amateur companies, or because of the risqué content, and controversial novel from which the play derives, but for the complexity and interweaving of all the characters and their roles in the plot. Each one living with their own apportion of blame for a society that they live in and some of the more delicate “goings on” in their own lives, as well as the interaction they all have with the main character Benjamin Braddock. This for me was something that was effectively dealt with by all, including tackling the challenging and fast-moving American dialogue and constant changes in pace and emotion.

 

Paul Hilliar playing the role of Benjamin was quite simply outstanding. He held both the audience and the play in the palm of his hand and ran with it. Having seen Paul perform both in Spalding Grammar School productions and for St. Nic’s in Outside Edge I knew he could act, but last night I was mesmerised! His transition through every emotion was believable and tangible; we laughed with him, squirmed with him, cried with him and shouted with him. An incredible performance from an 18 year old!

 

The seduction of Benjamin by the more mature alcoholic, frustrated and bored housewife, played daringly on amateur stage by Fiona Parish was equally believable. Her portrayal caught the mood swings between mother, temptress, wife and woman scorned in equal measures and the relationships between her, Mr. Robinson -Troy Melvin, Elaine -Victoria Bunting and Ben were yet another reflection of just how well the cast had got to know their characters.

 

Mr. & Mrs. Braddock - Bev Moore and Nick Fletcher were the perfect foil for much of Ben’s turmoil and their realisation that they had much to do with Ben’s personal problems was well directed and performed.

 

Whilst all the “naughtier” scenes were tastefully achieved, with beautiful lingerie by Mary Catling of Long Sutton, I do feel a special mention must be given to the raunchy, strip-tease danced by Danielle Parkin and choreographed by Gina Edwards. This young lady delivered a confident, edgy performance that contrasted superbly with the demure and very naive Elaine.

 

Adrian Hill’s cleverly designed set made for ease of scene change and the use of projection made sure the audience knew exactly where we were for each scene. I just felt that some of the lighting whilst definitely setting an ambience lost some effect towards the outer edges of the stage on occasions, especially during the first few scenes of the play. A minor criticism however for a production where every last detail had been accounted for, even down to my receiving a degree scroll instead of the usual programme.

 

    “…and here’s to you Mrs. Robinson…” An excellent evening’s entertainment and we look forward to St. Nicolas Players next production “Black Comedy – A Farce” by Peter Shaffer.

 

Review by Elizabet Wood, Spalding Target

 

“And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson…”

              …and indeed the entire cast and crew of this adventurous and ambitious production.

 

The St. Nicolas Players ensured they achieved a First Class Honours Degree Performance during their final show to celebrate their tenth anniversary. Leaving the stage after a second curtain call and the audience still applauding!

 

Director Philip Bosworth and Producer Marilyn Morris certainly know how to challenge their actors, in time honoured tradition; ten years ago they were the production team responsible for the society’s first production, Steel Magnolias, and anyone following the past productions of the society will know that they seem to thrive on dramas that really challenge both the actors and stage crew!

 

The Graduate is certainly in this category, not just because it has only been performed by half-a-dozen amateur companies, or because of the risqué content, and controversial novel from which the play derives, but for the complexity and interweaving of all the characters and their roles in the plot. Each one living with their own apportion of blame for a society that they live in and some of the more delicate “goings on” in their own lives, as well as the interaction they all have with the main character Benjamin Braddock. This for me was something that was effectively dealt with by all, including tackling the challenging and fast-moving American dialogue and constant changes in pace and emotion.

 

Paul Hilliar playing the role of Benjamin was quite simply outstanding. He held both the audience and the play in the palm of his hand and ran with it. Having seen Paul perform both in Spalding Grammar School productions and for St. Nic’s in Outside Edge I knew he could act, but last night I was mesmerised! His transition through every emotion was believable and tangible; we laughed with him, squirmed with him, cried with him and shouted with him. An incredible performance from an 18 year old!

 

The seduction of Benjamin by the more mature alcoholic, frustrated and bored housewife, played daringly on amateur stage by Fiona Parish was equally believable. Her portrayal caught the mood swings between mother, temptress, wife and woman scorned in equal measures and the relationships between her, Mr. Robinson -Troy Melvin, Elaine -Victoria Bunting and Ben were yet another reflection of just how well the cast had got to know their characters.

 

Mr. & Mrs. Braddock - Bev Moore and Nick Fletcher were the perfect foil for much of Ben’s turmoil and their realisation that they had much to do with Ben’s personal problems was well directed and performed.

 

Whilst all the “naughtier” scenes were tastefully achieved, with beautiful lingerie by Mary Catling of Long Sutton, I do feel a special mention must be given to the raunchy, strip-tease danced by Danielle Parkin and choreographed by Gina Edwards. This young lady delivered a confident, edgy performance that contrasted superbly with the demure and very naive Elaine.

 

Adrian Hill’s cleverly designed set made for ease of scene change and the use of projection made sure the audience knew exactly where we were for each scene. I just felt that some of the lighting whilst definitely setting an ambience lost some effect towards the outer edges of the stage on occasions, especially during the first few scenes of the play. A minor criticism however for a production where every last detail had been accounted for, even down to my receiving a degree scroll instead of the usual programme.

 

    “…and here’s to you Mrs. Robinson…” An excellent evening’s entertainment and we look forward to St. Nicolas Players next production “Black Comedy – A Farce” by Peter Shaffer.

 

Review by John Baker, Spalding Guardian

 

Ten years of performances at the refurbished South Holland Centre were celebrated in The Graduate by St Nicolas Players.

 

The iconic 1960s tale of an illicit relationship between a graduate and his parents' friend was brought to life smoothly by a small cast, directed by Philip Bosworth and produced by Marilyn Morris. When first released The Graduate caused controversy, not least because the graduate then eschews a wholesome, conventional career in finance or science to travel fruitlessly before falling in love with his seductress's daughter.

 

The student Benjamin Braddock was played by Paul Hilliar and his older seductress Mrs Robinson was played by Fiona Parrish. Paul is head boy at Spalding Grammer School and judging from some of the comments behind me he won't get ribbed at all for walking around in his boxer shorts and climbing into bed with a middle aged woman in front of his classmates. But he was, quite frankly, superb in the role. He portrayed Benjamin through his transition from naive student to womaniser, making errors of judgement along the way, believably. 

 

The contrast between steamy scenes with Mrs Robinson and the child-like courting of Elaine (Victoria Bunting) is expertly dealt with by all three cast members. Fiona's Mrs Robinson degenerates into the vicious alcoholic Anne Bancroft portrayed 41 years ago, while her husband (Troy Melvin) is the perfect symbol of business success with personal ineptitude.

 

The play does contain scenes of semi-nudity but "that" scene with Mrs Robinson is tastefully dealt with, and there is a stripper (Danielle Parkin) to satisfy flesh fiends. One minor quibble was that perhaps more could be done between scenes. On several occasions there was an uncomfortable pause between the end of one piece and the start of another. And there were too many empty seats, a perennial complaint borne from a feeling that people don't realise how good Spalding's amateur dramatics groups really are. But overall, it was first class. The audience was into the play from the start, with some struggling to control their mirth.

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