Now in it’s third home, the Duke of York’s Theatre, (after being at Theatre Clwyd in Wales and London’s National Theatre), Laura Wade’s brilliant play entertains right from the off. Focusing on vintage nostalgia and the role of women in the contemporary day, Home, I’m Darling is a fascinating insight into hobby culture and the steps people take to achieve their dreams.
Judy, a career-driven woman – who earns more than her husband – quits it all to become a stay at home housewife. Why? Because her and her spouse are obsessed with the 50’s, fetishising it to the point of obscenity. Anna Fleischle’s design has turned the couple’s home into a pastille palace solely containing items from that period; well, except for the MacBook that hides away in the draw – they need something modern to buy all their collectables from, right?
As the lead, Katherine Parkinson is magnificent. Sickly sweet in her characterisation, she provides a close-to-perfect performance of the domestic goddess. However, it isn’t long before cracks begin to show in her presentation, and things seem to feel a tad false. This feeling of fakery is topped up by Richard Harrington’s Johnny (her husband), who’s suddenly not completely feeling the 50’s vibe. As his earnings start to dwindle and Judy hides the bills, can they keep up this fantasy anymore? Isn’t it time she gets a job and helps them remain afloat?
Tamara Harvey’s production ticks all the boxes. It’s passionate, political, funny, dark and a great evening’s entertainment. Her direction is precise and contains within it many moments of genius. The occasional side eyes, dramatic pauses and physical gestures all add to the madness on stage. The scene changes are just as superb, giving us a chance to see some rock ‘n’ roll dancing and jam along to some jukebox hits.
For all its lightness, the production packs within it a powerful punch. Morality is questioned, perspectives are changed and it’s all done with a delicious charm. 5/5
Review written by Alistair Wilkinson.
Home, I’m Darling is currently showing until Saturday 13th April 2019 at the Duke of York’s Theatre. To find out more about the production, visit here…
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