Gielgud Theatre, London W1
New cast opened 8 August, 2000

Not such a hearty toast to you, Mrs Robinson, as an OK adaptation (but why do one at all?) is let down by weak central performances.

Terry Johnson is too skilled a writer and director to turn in a complete clinker, but as theatrical events go, this one is clearly intended to have a capital E: see the stage version of a film that everybody knows, with a star that everybody also knows.

When Jerry Hall took over as Mrs Robinson, the major critics mauled her. I'd love to say how wrong they were, but sadly they were spot-on. Hall hits all her marks and strikes the right attitudes, but for all the depth of characterisation she may as well be on a catwalk; indeed, in the now-legendary (brief, dimly lit) full frontal nude scene, she strikes a sultry pose which may be intended to be parodic but in fact merely suggests that it's all she knows.

Josh Cohen tries to perform as minimally as Dustin Hoffman did in the movie, but in Cohen's case there are no depths hinted at beneath his impassivity. Only Lucy Punch as a ditzy but formidable Elaine Robinson suggests that there's more to this evening than one big marketing ploy.

Written for

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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