Charing Cross Theatre, London – until 12 May 2018
Last week I was lucky enough to see the wonderful Harold and Maude at the Charing Cross Theatre. Following a pre-planned extension to the run, complete with casting changes (the marketing of which was a tad confusing, but that does mean there is good availability and deals to be found on tickets), I saw the newest version with Patrick Walshe McBride and Linda Marlowe in the titular roles.
I went in knowing nothing about the story (although whenever I mention the play, the response is invariably “isn’t there a film?” – yes, probably, whatever), which is how I prefer to see theatre. I’ve no love for spoilers, so won’t be giving any here, I’m all about broad brushstrokes.
The new leads are both fantastic. Marlowe’s Maude is such a joy: full of life, heart, mischief and optimism, while McBride brings a sense of vulnerability to his hilariously troubled Harold. They’ve joined an established ensemble which works brilliantly together to bring to life the uplifting eccentricity of the play with the clever and engaging use of music. Rebecca Caine, as Harold’s worried mother Helen, deserves a special mention, she has such wonderful comic timing and the fun she is having is deliciously contagious.
Reasons you should see it, in a nutshell:
It is surprisingly life-affirming, like a warm theatrical hug. It is very funny. It is refreshingly eccentric. Music is used in a playful way throughout. The cast is brilliant. There are currently offers available for great seats. And if none of that sways you, the Charing Cross Theatre bar is surprisingly reasonable should you be of the “cheeky drink with the show” persuasion.