Every couple needs a little fantasy to keep their marriage sparkling. But behind the gingham curtains, things start to unravel, and being a domestic goddess is not as easy as it seems…
Directed by Tamara Harvey written by Laura Wade, the 2019 Olivier award-winning Home, I’m Darling tells the story of Judy (Jessica Ransom) and husband Johnny (Neil McDermott), who are living a 1950s fantasy life – Judy has left her job to fully embrace the role as a housewife after an upbringing with a feminist and activist mother (Diane Keen). Their love of the era is shared by friends Fran (Cassie Bradley) and Marcus (Steve Blacker-Barrowman), but for them, it is merely a hobby.
Judy’s desperation to try and live a simple idealistic life based on 50s values, which initially seems to be working for both of them, starts to quickly unravel, putting a strain on her relationship as their financial stability start to dwindle. Try as she might, Judy can’t avoid modern life completely – we see guests with mobile phones from guests and a laptop to buy the authentic items in the house from Ebay. Similarly, the darker side of 1950s values are demonstrated in the misogyny expressed by Marcus throughout.
Jessica Ransom is fantastic as the neurotic Judy, moving around the stage anxiously, while maintaining a blissful ignorance. In direct contrast, Diane Keen is the perfect voice of reason, regularly pointing out the realities of what the 1950s were really like. Husband Johnny is brilliantly played by Steve Blacker-Barrowman, who realises what he is losing by trying to adapt to a new lifestyle.
Anna Fleischle’s set and costume design is superb. Set in a 1950s house – centred on the kitchen and living room – everything is neatly arranged and regimented, but contradicted by the 50s garish colours and patterns covering the walls.
The story compares 1950s idealist values and modern day equality, each realising that both have flaws. There are fundamental issues of communication in a relationship, and honesty comes into question when Judy hides the truth about their money troubles from Johnny. yet her partner tries to be honest and open, yet he also wants things to change leaving Judy feeling like she has to give up everything. The ending proves to be a lesson in understanding and compromise for the greater good.
Home, I’m Darling is funny. witty and thought-provoking. Well worth a watch!
Home, I’m Darling will be on stage at The Alexandra Theatre until Saturday 29th April. Purchase your tickets here!
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