tue 25/02/2020

Forster's Maurice takes a longer journey | reviews, news & interviews

Forster's Maurice takes a longer journey

Forster's Maurice takes a longer journey

Sure-footed direction and first-class acting in Forster adaptation

Adam Lilley's Maurice opens his heart to Stevie Raine's ScudderDerek Drescher

Above the Stag, an unpromising-looking, ominously shuttered gay pub in the ungainly heart of Victoria, a little miracle has been taking place. Word of mouth quickly sold out an intelligent adaptation of E M Forster's great coming-out novel Maurice, so the run has been extended until this Saturday. At the time of writing there were a few seats left for the final performance; as for a transfer, who knows?

Friends bought tickets for this one, so I came to it fearing all that's bad about pub theatre (and from some I've seen, it couldn't be much worse). How wrong I was. Roger Parsley and Andy Graham have selected nearly all of Forster's most significant one-to-ones. The clarity of his prose keeps datedness or sentimentality at bay, and it's much assisted by Tim McArthur's sure-footed direction as well as some first-class acting from Adam Lilley's ambivalent hero - excellent in conflict with poor sister Ada (Persia Lawson) - and from Jonathan Hansler in two consummate cameos. Unless you're fixated on the image of Rupert Graves's gamekeeper in the cagier Merchant-Ivory film - I'm not - then Stevie Raine's Alec is all that could be desired. Further details from Above the Stag Theatre's website.

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