A Journey with Maude is an interactive theatre production commissioned for TakeOver Festival at the National Railway Museum in York, during October Half-Term. Set in one of the museum's carriages, this show is an original family-friendly production based on the 70's film, Harold and Maud.
We assembled by the carriage, greeted by the conductor, Harold. The shrill of his whistle brought a late Maude to join us and so the show started. A small old woman with grey hair in a long winter coat, Maude was full of life. She shook our hands, learned our names and offered us some delicious cake and orange tea from her Mary Poppins-like handbag.
Set in the Station Hall of the National Railway Museum the setting was immersive, allowing us to really get involved in the story and the idea of taking a journey with this loveable old woman. This also meant that onlookers were peering over the barriers, intrigued by the performance.
After meeting Maude and Harold we were told a little bit about the train and were invited inside to talk to Maude. As the carriage was so small the audience for each show could only be five or six people, making it a very understated, as well as a very personal event for families to get involved with.
Maude chatted away like an excitable young girl about all the things that she had seen and experienced throughout her life. She was almost philosophical about the nature and meaning of life, and sometimes she was incredibly sad about how she was getting so old, in the 'autumn' of her life as she put it. However, her excitement and joy was infectious and I couldn't help but smile back at her whenever she leaned over to tell me a story.
We explored different carriages of the train while we listened to Maude and her interplay with Harold. In a truly interactive piece of theatre she talked to us and interacted with us as we went along. Sally Ann Staunton was absolutely brilliant to portray such a convincing, slightly eccentric old lady.
Overall this was a brilliant show for children and families to get involved in and brought some life to the exhibits at the National Railway Museum.
A Journey with Maude by Interplay Theatre is a special commission for TakeOver Festival with performances throughout the day from Mon 26th– Sun 1st at the National Railway Museum. See yorktheatreroyal.co.uk for more information and booking.