The Graduate at New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth

The Graduate at the New Theatre Royal

The Graduate at the New Theatre Royal

Mr Bloom's Nursery Live

CBeebies star’s new show at the Kings, Southsea, promises to be blooming marvellous

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The good news is that Kerry McCrohon is back on stage after having a baby. But even she cannot save the CCADS production from a lack of internal electricity.

Oh yes, there is plenty of shouting towards the end but that is mere noise, which is never enough.

More importantly, much of the acting in Terry Johnson’s play is unconvincing – which is a considerable surprise when the director is John-Paul McCrohon, Kerry’s husband.

She bravely goes naked in one brief scene but underplays the alcoholism (better than overplaying it, of course). And in the title role of Benjamin Braddock, a boy/man in search of a new purpose in life, Mike Parker does not quite fulfil the immense promise he has previously revealed with CCADS.

But he does show his mettle in his timing of some comic lines and gives the ending a touching charm in the company of Charlotte Mackie as Elaine Robinson.

One actor who does properly internalise his character’s pain is the ever-reliable Peter Colley as the betrayed Mr Robinson, and I like Marie Ridley’s simpering Mrs Braddock – as well as the Simon and Garfunkel songs.

A couple of small technical hiccups suggest the production was not quite ready for the first performance, but that is not an excuse CCADS usually need.

Until Saturday.

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