Maurice's Jubilee: Theatre Royal Bath
Theatre Royal Bath
In recent months we have had ample evidence here in Bath that Nichola McAuliffe is one of the country's leading actresses. She has had two starring roles at the Theatre Royal in the past year.
What isn't quite so well known is that she is a hugely promising playwright with the kind of waspish humour that could easily have come from Alan Bennett's pen.
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But she also has a very keen eye for producing beautifully written portraits of very real people.
Here she has written, and now stars in with Julian Gover and Sheila Reid, a thoughtful comedy that looks at love, death, marriage and what keeps us going when life gets particularly tough.
Maurice, a former jeweller, is dying and if he makes it through to his 90th birthday he will see the love of his life one more time. On the eve of the Queen's coronation he spent the night at the palace guarding the crown jewels when he met the young princess. She told him then that she would pay him a birthday visit if he made it to 90 and she to her jubilee.
So Maurice is expecting her to call. His wife is sceptical about the whole thing although she is prepared to lash out on an Arctic roll and a few tinned salmon sandwiches just to keep Maurice happy.
Although it is perhaps Nichola's performance as the Queen, at the age she is today, that tips the play into greatness, in many ways it is her look at what keeps a marriage going that endears us to it and ensures that the play is likely to performed many times in the future.
New plays are a bit of a rarity these days so this one is a very real bonus. Let's hope that Nichola keeps on writing. You can see the play until Saturday.