It’s been 44 years Nifties, yes 44, since the film, ‘The Graduate,’ with Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft introduced us to the idea of an older woman seducing a younger man. Simon and Garfunkle sang the song that, even after all this time, we remember, ‘coo coochie coo Mrs Robinson…’ If only they had used the Welsh national anthem John Redwood wouldn’t have looked such a prat at that conference. Still, it would have robbed us of one of the great television moments. Much has happened in 44 years to change our opinions concerning the sexual activity of mature women, although the confessions of Edwina Currie set them back a bit.
A new play, ‘A Round-Heeled Woman,’ at the Riverside Studios, is about to offer a perspective on the mature woman that is bound to provoke comment. The play stars Sharon Gless, who sprang to fame by appearing in the US detective series, Cagney and Lacey. Plots were always a problem for this series. I’m sure the commissioning brief just said, make up a story that includes, feminist or feminine concerns, emotional confrontations, soul searching and friendship, without the smutty innuendo that is bound to surround a couple of butch, chick, feds. Oh and some police work.
A Round-Heeled Woman is the story of a 66 year old who put an ad in the paper in New York saying, ‘Before I turn 67 next March I’d like to have a lot of sex with a man I like.’ She had 63 replies from men aged between 35 and 80 and does indeed proceed to have a lot of sex as well as experiencing falling in love, having her heart broken, rejection, a lot of laughs and her first orgasm with a man after 30 years. 30 years, that’s a hell of a lot of foreplay. Didn’t they have jobs?
Why she just didn’t get on dating sites on the internet I don’t know. Maybe there’s more drama to be squeezed out of someone writing to her. I mean her sitting at a computer with a giant projection of the screen behind her, like the late Steve Jobs launching an idater, isn’t going to engage the audience is it? He types, ‘Hi my name’s Barry, I like your intro, you sound very interesting.’ She types, ‘Thanks what hobbies do you have?’ He types, ‘Watching Fed shows on the tele.’ She stands up from computer and puts a thoughtful hand to her mouth before sitting down again and typing, ‘Did you ever watch a series called Cagney and Lacey?’ He types, ‘What with those two fat lezzers?’ She screams and jumps up. He types, ‘I like where this is going princess.’ She let’s out a long scream. Curtain falls on act one.
No Nifties, this play is symptomatic of just how adventurous we are becoming.