Harold and Maude at Charing Cross Theatre
This uniquely dark romantic comedy makes for a hilariously twisted two hours. Originally written by Colin Higgins in America during the early 1970s, Harold and Maude has been performed all over the world and now makes it to the lovely Charing Cross Theatre.
The play tells the story of a young man, Harold (Bill Milner), more of a boy really, who has an obsession with death and a 79-year-old woman, Maude (Sheila Hancock). The young man is a bit of a loner, has been kicked out of school and is constantly trying to torment his detached mother to try to get an emotional rise out of her. As well as playing dark pranks, Harold spends his time attending funerals where, one day, he meets Maude. A blossoming friendship, romance even, follows as she teaches him that the most important thing is to live.
The humour may be dark but it is still accessible. From Harold’s twisted pranks to Maude’s twisting of conversations, this is a comedy that almost everyone will find funny. From start to finish, it is thoroughly enjoyable.
It is a treat to see the venerable Sheila Hancock on stage. The Olivier-award winning actress gives a beautiful performance and really brings the writing to life. And Bill Milner, who stars alongside, is brilliantly dark, awkward and enthralling. The rising Hollywood star proves that he is not just a screen actor but is also at home with the very best on the stage.
This iteration of Harold and Maude, directed by Thom Southerland, is wonderfully staged at Charing Cross Theatre. The supporting cast members each play instruments and they are all a part of every scene, providing a wonderful backing track. The whole production is very interesting, very enjoyable and very well put together.
Harold and Maude is an intriguing piece of theatre – a great big existential crisis that is full of genuinely funny moments.
Photo: Darren Bell
Harold and Maude is at Charing Cross Theatre from 19th February until 31st March 2018. Book your tickets here.