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Maurice's Jubilee (Tour - Oxford)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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It might have escaped your notice last year there was a Jubilee for the Queen, however the day before that rainy river pageant was a man waiting for a special visitor from his distant past.

Maurice’s Jubilee, written by and featuring Nichola McAuliffe, tells the tale of Maurice, 89 with terminal illness, and his staunch belief that the night before her coronation he spent the night with the Queen and agreed to reconvene on the eve of her Diamond Jubilee (convenient, eh?). Maurice and his missus of 60 years, Helena, hire a live-in nurse (McAuliffe) in order to ease the couple through the final weeks of their marriage.

McAuliffe’s script has glimmers of genius; however most jokes are not so much shoehorned in but catapulted from afar. With tighter reigning in of the text, this piece could have been much stronger than it was. I do wonder how different the performed text would be had the writer not been in the cast.

Julian Glover plays Maurice, delivering a splendid performance with real heartfelt moments. Gay Soper, as his wife, does the best with the material she has with some very unbelievable lines attributed to her character. I will not reveal how the second half turns out, however I will say the costume team did themselves proud.

The sturdy set grounds the play firmly in middle-England suburbia, while the play meanders aimlessly between pathos filled family story and a man’s fantasy which the two women in his life do their best to remedy.

Strong elements throughout, however it’s a shame nothing cemented the production together.

Daniel Whitley


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