Maurice, a retired jeweller living in Penge, is expecting a visit from the Queen. Sixty years ago, when he took charge of the crown jewels overnight, she promised to find him, should she ever reach her diamond jubilee and he his ninetieth birthday.
On both counts, it’s a close call. No news from the Queen. And Maurice (the redoubtable Julian Glover) is fading fast, riddled with brain tumours and losing his teeth.
He’s flanked on one side by his long-suffering wife (bird-like Shelia Reid) and on the other by a new nurse threatening to catheterise him (“I love it when you talk dirty,” he says).
Nichola MacAuliffe, who wrote the play, is also the nurse: she springs a surprise that encompasses both a brilliant transformation and a touching love story with a twist in the tail.
Hannah Eidinow’s staging of the jeweller’s tale is a sparkling gem, ninety minutes of fine acting and a stream of good jokes, not least the one about Maurice loving the National Theatre but only because it has a good car park.
McAuliffe, an Edinburgh fringe regular, has written several interesting and quirky plays to date; this could be the one to go places.
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