Reviewed by Ann Durrell
Since the suffragette’s women have fought hard for their rights and gender equality, so what would happen if in 2019 you choose to live as a 1950’s housewife? It’s an interesting concept played out superbly with just the right balance of humour in this cautionary tale by Laura Wade.
Judy (Katherine Parkinson) and Johnny (Jo Stones-Fewings) are in their late 30’s and have a passion for all things 50’s. From the way they dress to renovating their house with vintage furniture and decor. Judy is so dedicated to authenticity, she even decants milk from plastic cartons into glass bottles and don’t mention the new shopping mall, she will not be stepping foot in the place!
When Judy is given the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy, she comes up with a plan, the plan to become a real 50’s housewife. Days are spent cleaning and baking, waiting for her husband to return from his days work. Dinner in the oven ready for his return, cocktail poured and slippers in hand, her sole purpose is pleasing her husband. Is it possible to live this way in the current climate? At first, they seem blissfully happy, however cracks soon become to appear when Johnny is passed over for promotion.
The set, designed by Anna Fleischle, takes over the entire stage, an imposing two-story house, all authentic 50’s decor. We are literally given a window into Judy and Johnny’s home. In act two when we have a flashback to when Judy came up with her lifestyle idea, there are some really clever set changes to come back to present day. The couple’s friends Fran and Marcus (Siubhan Harrison and Hywel Morgan) jive across the set cleverly setting up for the next scene.
The entire cast are impressive, especially Parkinson who plays the part to perfection. Throughout you feel her keeping the pretence that everything is rosy, but you get the hint that the mask of a smile she is wearing could be slipping as the story unfolds. Judy’s mother, Sylvia (Susan Brown), is less than happy with her daughter’s choice of lifestyle. Returning from a funeral she despairs after hearing tales of her friends’ children being human rights lawyers whilst her own daughter is a housewife. Act two sees Sylvia really loose her patience and she gives Judy and her friend a lecture on what living in the 50’s was actually like, seemingly very cold!
Home, I’m Darling is original and thought-provoking writing from Laura Wade brought to life by an outstanding set and cast.
Tickets cost from £24.50 (booking fees may apply).
Home, I’m Darling is at The Lowry in Manchester from 23-27 April 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.thelowry.com or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000