British film star Bill Milner
(Dunkirk, X-Men: First Class, Son of Rambow
) is to star with, as previously announced, Olivier Award-winning West End star Sheila Hancock
in the London premiere of Colin Higgins
‘ 1971 American black comedy romantic drama Harold and Maude
The production – which runs at the Charing Cross Theatre for six weeks from 19 February to 31 March 2018, with a press night on 26 February – reunites Hancock with director Thom Southerland after their acclaimed sold-out success with the UK premiere of the musical Grey Gardens in 2016.
Harold and Maude is an idiosyncratic romantic fable told through the eyes of the most unlikely pairing: a compulsive, self-destructive young man and a devil-may-care, septuagenarian bohemian.
Dame Marjorie “Maude” Chardin (Sheila Hancock) is a free spirit who wears her hair in braids, believes in living each day to its fullest, and “trying something new every day”. Harold Parker Chasen (Bill Milner) is an 18-year-old man who is obsessed with death, attends funerals of strangers for entertainment and stages elaborate fake suicides. Through meeting Maude at a funeral, he discovers joy in living for the first time. Part dark comedy and romantic innocence, Harold and Maude dissolves the line between darkness and light along with ones that separate people by class, gender and age.
Thom Southerland, who is also artistic director of Charing Cross Theatre, said:
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to be bringing Colin Higgins’ masterpiece Harold and Maude
to Charing Cross Theatre for its first-ever London production. I am honoured and delighted to be teaming up again with Sheila Hancock
on this incredible piece, which dares us to think beyond the obvious.”
The cast also includes Anthony Cable, Rebecca Caine, Christopher Dickins, Joanna Hickman, Samuel Townsend, Anne White and Johnson Willis. The production is designed by Francis O’Connor, with costumes by Jonathan Lipman, lighting by Matt Clutterham, sound by Andrew Johnson, music by Michael Bruce and casting by Stephen Crockett for David Grindrod Associates.
Harold and Maude
is produced by Steven M. Levy and Vaughan Williams. Consulting producer James Cass Rogers.
Bill Milner recently appeared in Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed WW2 film Dunkirk and played the role of young Erik Lensherr/Magneto (Ian McKellen’s character) in the superhero film X-Men: First Class. He made his acting debut in 2007 in the film Son of Rambow. He also starred alongside Michael Caine in Is Anybody There? and portrayed Ian Dury’s son Baxter in the biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll. He has the title role of iBoy, a teenager who suffers severe head injuries after a previous incident, and develops cybernatural powers, alongside Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams in the Netflix oiriginal film, IBoy.
Sheila Hancock‘s extensive career spans theatre, radio, television and film, and she is also now enjoying a career as a features presenter and as a writer including The Two of Us which won the British Book Award for Author of the Year, and her debut novel Miss Carter’s War. Her recent theatre roles in London include Edith “Big Edie” Ewing Bouvier Beale in Grey Gardens, Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret (Olivier Award, Clarence Derwent Award), Mother Superior in Sister Act the Musical (Olivier nomination); Emmie Packer in Barking in Essex and ‘Mum’ in The Anniversary (a role played by Bette Davis while Sheila played the daughter-in-law, in the film version); Maitre Suzanne Blum in The Last Duchess (Hampstead), and Meg in The Birthday Party (Lyric Hammersmith). She was in the original London productions of Annie and Sweeney Todd (Olivier nomination), and Rose in Gypsy at West Yorkshire Playhouse (TMA Best Actress Award). In New York, as Kath in Entertaining Mr Sloane (Tony nomination).