Please note that as of 25th June 2015 this site is no longer being updated, as I'm taking a wee break from it for a while to focus on other projects. Thanks for your interest and I'll post up as & when it's all back up and running.
The Graduettes 27-04/2015 - 01/05/2015
by Me - Review of the Websters Theatre show
The Graduettes, Websters Theatre, Glasgow. 27th April-1st May.
It's been described by others as 'Sex and the City meets The Inbetweeners'. To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of pigeon-holing like that, and having attended its first night at Websters I think it'd be far more apt to describe it rather as an excellent update on 80s sitcom City Lights. See wot I did there?
The show centres around three girls and their lesser halves as they try to navigate life after education with as little effort as possible. The stage play itself is based on an episode entitled The Girls Solve a Murder, in which Sophie is pregnant to Andrew, whom she barely knows, and is all set to put on the perfect Christmas dinner for his mother. As they prepare to break the big news to her, Sophie and her friends find the landlady dead on the living room floor and must solve the case or hide the body before Andrew’s mother arrives.
The Graduettes started out as a simple idea by Belfast born Ashleigh Wilkie to create a female version of the hit sitcom “Peep Show”. This developed into a script for a television pilot by her writer/director husband Sean, who wrote six episodes of the show in one long stream of consciousness.
Rather than pursue a pilot though, the team worked with Sean’s production company, There’s Been a Murder Productions, and fellow producers, Chris Somerville and Stephen Wilkie, to produce a stage play which ran for two nights in Glasgow last year and went down a storm with audiences who loved the Glasgow banter and outrageous humour.
I can see why it got that type of reaction, as I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. I won't spoil the plot for you in case you catch it at Websters or the Fringe, but what I would say is that it's really funny. I can see it'd come across well on the small screen, but as a stage play it works on a different level - watching it I felt I was more like in a studio audience rather than in a theatre, although this didn't affect the usual intimacy you can feel from a stage show. I would love to see how it transfers onto a recorded sitcom though, so if that was the intention then it worked for me!
The episode / show I watched was well-scripted, full of colourful Scots patter that took you through disaster after disaster for the characters, with cheeky one-liners drizzled through including one concerning peanut butter I'm still chuckling about. We were also treated to a 'next time on the Graduettes' reveal of the following episode, and a bizarrely amusing commercial break in the middle made even more surreal by the characters' subsequent reaction to what had just happened!
On the night I was there the audience appeared to include lots of critics & bloggers, but the atmosphere was still genuinely warm and the applause & laughs throughout noticeable, so that's always a good sign.
There’s Been a Murder Productions are running a crowdfunding campaign to take the show to the Edinburgh Fringe with great perks like getting to play the dead body in the show or a private living room performance. The campaign can be found here
The show stars Jennifer McErlane (Dirty Water), Rachel Wile, Heather Haddow (Frank, The Pull), Neal Stewart Roxburgh, Atta Yaqub (Ae Fond Kiss) and John Gaffney (Mad Mitch) who at one point in the show I thought was heading towards total nakedness (!).
It was created by Ashleigh Wilkie, written and directed by Sean Wilkie, produced by Chris Somerville and Stephen Wilkie, make up design by Yvonne Lynch and Lesley MacAllister.
You can pick up tickets for their run at Websters here: webstersglasgow.com/events/the-graduettes-3-2015-04-27/
...but even if you can't go, make sure you pop over to the crowdfunding campaign and spare some pennies to get these guys to the Fringe and help them build some real momentum!