The Graduettes

The Graduettes starts with a great farce premise: flatmates wake up on Christmas morning to find their home robbed and their landlady dead on the floor. There's also a visit from a judgemental in-law planned, an intrusive ex and a policeman who's related to said dead lady. A lot of plots going on at once means it's in danger of getting messy, which is precisely what The Graduettes goes on to do. From so much promise the farce devolves into a sloppy play, with running between rooms substituting for any actual jokes in the script.

From so much promise the farce devolves into a sloppy play.

The cast vary in levels of comic acting. Whilst Rachel holds up a baffled straight guy role whilst also becoming ruthless in her attempts at concealing the body, the rest of the cast fumble around the stage either winking to the audience after every joke or overacting so badly I want every scene to be their last appearance. No amount of gasping on the actress’ part can save her character Grace from being instantly detestable. True, farces work well with a good idiot or villain to root against, but Grace is written as such an insufferable prat it's not even entertaining. The timing for most of the jokes is way off, and the blocking is still messy. In a farce in particular it's vitally important to know where everyone should be on stage for physical comedy, whereas here characters walk in front of one another awkwardly and crowd the space.

The script isn't entirely clear in the plot and unless characters state their relations to one another whole chunks of development and backstory can be lost. There was a major character point about one of the lead roles which I didn't even know was the case until reading the press release again after the show. The script needs a good edit as some moments of escalation seem completely unnecessary, and the resolution isn't worth all of the build up.

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Sophie is planning the perfect Christmas dinner for the grandmother of her unborn child. Rachel is getting over her ex and cancer and Grace thinks she is a lesbian and now the landlady is dead on their floor. Come for dinner, there's no crackers but the banter is deadly.

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