I went to see it without reading any reviews, so until Judy, the main character took out a laptop out of her kitchen table drawer, about ten minutes into the play, I did not know it was not actually set in 1950s. I went to see it with my self-proclaimed feminist daughter, looking forward to post-show discussions about woman’s position in post-war society. Ten minutes into the play, that plan had to be scrapped, or at least modified.
It was still worth it for a number of reasons.
I always thought audience participation in London theatres was strictly confined to panto, but apparently not.
Audience, in this case, was made up of mainly women, mainly middle age and above, with a few husbands dragged out of pubs and DIY sheds to have their horizons broadened thus on a chilly Saturday afternoon.
There is a scene in the play when the main character’s mother makes a women’s rights equality progress empowerment and liberation from kitchen sink sort of speech. She goes on for a bit and when she stops, the audience bursts into spontaneous ovation. This reaction made a far bigger impression, on me anyway, than the speech itself.
There is another scene, where the two main characters, husband and his stay at home wife are having an argument and after the wife says, ‘I get tired too’, the husband shouts in exasperation, ‘how can you be tired, you do nothing all day’, the audience responds with a loud and prolonged, ‘Oooooooo’ of disapproval. Nice.
Overall though, a somewhat lukewarm thumbs up, 3/5.
Katherine Parkinson (of IT Crowd fame) in the lead was a joy to watch, her cut throat tension and fragility utterly enjoyable, and the set design’s attention to retro details was fantastic, but cliches did end up piling up fast, and the rest of the cast was, how shall I put this, not entirely brilliant. It’s always bad news when you hear people saying that it could have been a bit shorter, as they leave the theatre. I cannot disagree.
Home, I’m Darling runs until 13th of April 2019 at Duke of York Theatre.