How far have we come since the 1950s, are we in a Post-Feminist era or does feminism still have a role to play in the twenty-first century? These are the questions ‘Home, I’m Darling ‘ writer Laura Wade asks, she explores these questions with humour in a fun, but nonetheless thought provoking way. 2018 saw this play win the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy and was nominated for the UK Theatre’s Best New Play.
Judy (Rosanna Miles) & Johnny (Toby Manley) love the 1950s and its her dream to live life as though still in this era with its values where Jonny goes to work and she dutifully and happily looks after the house, baking cakes and has his slippers, whiskey and dinner ready for when he gets home. They still have a few modern fancies such as the internet though. Living this nineteen fifties dream seems blissful as they are happy as can be to their friends Fran (Ellie Burrow) and Marcus (Charles Haggerty), however cracks start to appear as their financial situation becomes more and more difficult. However, it is not only the finances which are causing issues: Johnny doesn’t value her ‘work’ in the house, Judy’s mother Sylvia constantly tells her she is living in a fantasy, a cartoon even, their friends cancel their group holiday, an interesting encounter with Marcus, and Jonny is not happy, he is not achieving targets and he doesn’t feel he can do anything in the house which in turn affects his mood, his affections grow towards his boss Alex (Kerry Bennett) as he feels Judy has changed while living this lifestyle.
Sylvia (Hillary Harwood) actually lived in the nineteen fifties and performs an excellent monologue on what it was really like for women.
There are lots of elements around these issues, and for both sexes. The pressures on men to perform and be the earner and the finer sexual boundaries which exists between men and women.
This play cleverly explores how these boundaries have changed, how our values have changed over the decades and whereas so many of these changes have been for the better, in reality some have not been for the better. But what do you think?
Although the play hits some seemingly big issues, and occasionally makes the audience expel some reactionary mummers, it’s done through a simple story of trying to life a ‘normal’ life which makes the whole play relatable. There is also a light heartedness and humour which bring funny moments and laughter in the theatre.
The cast were great and were able to bring the reality to the stage with a relaxed ease. Being set in the nineteen fifties in a regular home the décor was effective and the dresses were great. Scene changes were accompanied by the classic music of the time and some jiving by the cast members.