Photo © Manuel Harlan
HOME, I’M DARLING
The Lowry, Salford Quays
Until Saturday 27th April 2019
Fresh from a sold-out run at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London’s West End – having transferred following a critically-acclaimed season at the National Theatre late last summer – Laura Wade’s Olivier Award-winning new comedy drama is now out on the road for a limited UK tour, before heading back to its original home at Theatr Clwyd (where the play first premiered) later this month.
Wade’s witty and poignant play is a razor-sharp domestic satire on gender equality in a modern relationship, focusing on one woman’s obsessive quest to be the perfect 1950’s housewife in the present day.
Katherine Parkinson is an utter joy as Judy, a proud housewife to husband Johnny (a brilliant Jo Stone-Fewings) who took early redundancy from a well paying team-leader job three years ago and now spends her time indulging her love of the 50s, all the while striving to be the model housewife through a strict regime of duties and chores.
Judy has long dreamt of a quaint, easy life in what she believes was a much simpler time, but her peculiar nostalgia for a time that had long disappeared before she was even born is now taking its toll on both her marriage and relationships with her feminist mother and friends. What’s more, financial troubles mean keeping the dream alive may no longer be affordable.
Wade’s play is filled with snappy dialogue, sarcasm and brilliant one liners. Underneath the humour however is a somewhat darker and rather unsettling examination of someone who has become so disillusioned and fearful of the modern world that she genuinely believes she would be better suited to life in the 1950s; a decade which Judy’s mother Sylvia (Susan Brown) scathingly tears to shreds in a superb second-act monologue.
Having grown up in a strict feminist commune, Judy’s teenage years revolved around an all-female community who spent their time marching and refused to do housework on principle. Her mother is now openly critical of her life choice having spent years protesting for women’s liberation, disappointed that her daughter is refusing to better herself and choosing to be a housewife.
Staged against Anna Fleischle’s exceptional dolls house set, and accompanied by an evocative 50s soundtrack, director Tamara Harvey’s fluid and sparkling production zips along at a fine pace, achieving an effective balance between humour and poignancy. Wade, Parkinson and Harvey have all worked together on various projects in the past and that shared chemistry and understanding most definitely shines through on the stage.
A very strong cast is rounded out with fine supporting performances from Siubhan Harrison, Hywel Morgan, and Sara Gregory.
All in all, Home, I’m Darling is that rarest of theatrical beasts; a brilliantly constructed and superbly acted new play that absolutely lives up to the hype, entertains throughout, and makes its audience think. Catch it while you can!
Running Time: 2 hours and 40 minutes (approx.), including one 20-minute interval.
Final Performance at The Lowry, Salford Quays: Saturday 27th April 2019.
For more information, and to book tickets, please Click Here.