Maurice's Jubilee (Birmingham)
Maurice has a story to tell, a promise to keep and a dream to fulfil. This story has been the focus of most of his life, much to the annoyance of his wife and son. Sixty years ago Maurice invited the Queen for tea on the day of his 90th Birthday, he believes she will come and not let him down. Helena his wife has had enough of playing second fiddle to his infatuation with the Queen and wishes he would let the dream go.
Shelia Reid portrays Helena with equal amounts of buoyant denial and extreme frustration with the situation life has landed her in. She has stuck by her husband though many trials and yet she still feels second best. Julian Glover shines as Maurice, when he tells his story it is full of excitement and joy as the old man fondly remembers that magical evening. He captures the darker side of Maurice equally well. Katy, Maurice’s nurse, is played by Nicola McAuliffe, who also wrote the play. Katy is calm and collected when dealing with medical matters but slightly awkward when talking about herself. It is in the second half however that Nicola really shows her acting prowess.
The play touches on many of life’s issues as Maurice’s birthday approaches. Each character has a chance and reason to take a look at their lives and see themselves through others eyes. There are poignant moments as realisation dawns, but there is also humour. Sometimes this humour is a little dark due to the subject matter, but Maurice’s blunt outlook on life and his condition leads to some of the best one liners.
Although this play looks at old age it is a humorous and thought provoking celebration of life.
- Annette Nuttall