Harold and Maude, Charing Cross Theatre | Review

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Harold and Maude
Charing Cross Theatre 
Reviewed on Monday 26th February 2018 by Shaun Dicks 

‘We come in with nothing, we go out with nothing.’

This may be the truth in life but not when it concerns Harold and Maude. The home of the show is the Charing Cross Theatre, one of London’s hidden gems. The show is filled with a plethora of joys, including an Actor Musician element which gave a movie like feel.  We follow the story of eccentric characters Harold and Maude; Harold, the young man who acts out multiple suicides and Maude, the free spirited and law bending hippie pensioner. The story tells us of these two quirky characters and their unconventional, blossoming relationship. 

The show is full of many joys. To begin with, the story written by Colin Higgins, is incredibly well crafted. The script is littered with quotable lines that uplift the soul and the story warms your heart. The direction by Thom Sutherland – whose work I have followed for years – was assured and inspired. With the multiple moving parts and minimal space, Sutherland succeeded in maintaining fluidity. Another incredible factor was the Actor Musician ensemble, their multi-rolling and musicianship was outstanding. Mrs Chasen portrayed by Rebecca Caine was a particular highlight, her comedic timing and character work was incredible.

Harold played by Bill Milner was very well pitched. The use of dark humour with his character was perfect – giving an Alan Ball type feel - and the evolution of his character was a sight to behold. The crowning glory of this piece was Sheila Hancock as Maude. Hancock gives a masterclass on how theatre should be done. She is balanced, hilarious, endearing, truthful and tender. Her creation of Maude is so well-rounded and makes you feel all the emotions in the two hours you spend with her.

This is a story of non-conformity, love and life. It portrays a beautiful relationship between a man in the beginnings of adulthood and a woman nearing the end of hers. This show breaks down generational divides and shows the beauty of friendship. The line Maude says, ‘We don’t need to build anymore walls, let’s build more bridges.’, covers this show in a nutshell. 

Harold and Maude is so full of happiness and magic. This gem cannot stay hidden, it is too special to stay hidden, it needs the recognition it deserves. In a dreary winter, treat yourself to this ray of light. 

Harold and Maude runs at the Charing Cross Theatre until 31st March 2018

photo credit: Darren Bell