Skip to main content

Harold and Maude

Tron Theatre, Glasgow
4 stars
There’s something naively life-affirming about Colin Higgins’ love 
story between well-heeled nihilistic teenager Harold and seventy-nine 
year old free-spirit, Maude. Higgins’ own stage version of the 1971 
cult film he scripted for director Hal Ashby was a commercial flop on 
Broadway, and it’s not difficult to see why from Theatre Jezebel’s 
Glasgay! revival. It’s not that it’s bad. It’s just that a black comedy 
based around a kid who fakes multiple suicides inbetween hanging around 
funerals makes more sense now than it probably did during that awkward 
period in American social history when the summer of love had given way 
to something darker and more cynical.

While Kenny Miller’s vivid, scarlet-coloured production taps into the 
play’s period oddity, it also shines a beacon on how disaffected youth 
can be woken up to life by their elders in a way that might easily be 
applied to today. Miller allows his cast to breeze through what becomes 
an off-kilter comic romp with a set of heightened performances to suit. 

In the central roles, Tommy Bastow’s sullen brattishness as Harold is 
offset by Vari Sylvester’s deliciously kooky vivaciousness as Maude. 
There’s dry support too from Anita Vettesse as Harold’s distracted 
mother and Richard Conlon as the inevitably sex-obsessed therapist.

There’s a wonderfully confused exchange between Sylvester and Vettesse 
as it slowly dawns on Harold’s mother that the girl of her boy’s dreams 
is actually standing before her. The pathos that follows during Maude’s 
eightieth birthday celebrations may be a final fling for her, but it’s 
as if Harold has just woken up to life in this sweetest of 
counter-cultural curios.

The Herald, November 2nd 2012

ends


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a busy woman. The thirty-two year old actress who burst onto our TV screens as writer and star of Fleabag, the tragi-comic sort of sit-com about a supposedly independent woman on the verge is currently overseeing Killing Eve, her new TV drama which she's written for BBC America. As an actress, Waller-Bridge is also filming a big screen project which we can't talk about, but which has already been outed as being part of the ongoing Star Wars franchise.

These are both pretty good reasons why Waller-Bridge won't be appearing in the brief Edinburgh Festival Fringe revival of the original stage play of Fleabag, when it opens next week at the Underbelly, where it was first unleashed to the world in 2013. In her place, Maddie Rice will take on the role of the potty-mouthed anti-heroine after touring Vickie Jones' production for Waller-Bridge and Jones' DryWrite company in association with Soho Theatre. This doesn't mean Waller-Bridge has turned…

The Divide

King's Theatre
Four stars

Everything is black and white in Alan Ayckbourn's new play, a six hour two part epic set in a dystopian future where men and women are segregated from each other following the aftermath of an unspecified plague. Into this landscape, the secret diaries of brother and sister Elihu and Soween are brought to life by Jake Davies and Erin Doherty with a wide-eyed lightness of touch as their hormones get the better of them when they both hit puberty.
Annabel Bolton's production for the Old Vic, EIF and Karl Sydow begins with a TED Talk type lecture that reveals the back story to how things turned out this way. It ends with a sentimental love story designed to tug the heart-strings. Inbetween, there is teenage rebellion aplenty against the regime's institutionalised repression. Liberation comes through art and sex, which, in such extreme circumstances become even greater life forces.

With both plays told through the siblings' diaries alongside ass…