Review: Home, I'm Darling

Review: Home, I’m Darling

Review: Home, I’m Darling

Thought-provoking play.


There is something almost masochistic about being in love with the 50s – and as an owner of petticoats, vintage dresses and a couple of hair curling sets, I know what I am talking about. And yet, it is impossible to forget about the darker underlining of this fantasy – a fantasy that Judy takes all too seriously.  

Judy and Johnny live in their 1950s dreamworld. She dances and sways to the dulcet tones of “Mr. Sandman” in her perfectly vintage kitchen (“everything is from the 1950s or earlier – even the fridge!”) wearing her perfect figure-8 dress with a pinny on top, as she prepares breakfast for Johnny. He comes in, all jolly, shouting “we are appallingly happy!”. But the question is – are they really? Had their stylised lifestyle become something of a hideaway from the real world? Or a coping mechanism?  

The play could perhaps go a bit deeper into the psychological reasons behind indulging in the 50s but with a cast so excellent, it really creates a believable scenario. All that more believable if you ever dipped your toes into the vintage reproduction community, into the magical world of trad wives, petticoats and pin curls. Judy finds out the hard way that she cannot fully immerse herself in the 50s without taking in some of its dark aspects: rampant discrimination, inequalities and helplessness.  

Set is rather traditional and not very dynamic – changes involving elaborate dance routines are entertaining but after a while become slightly too much. It was bound to be tricky, however, given the sheer number of props used to draw the audiences into Judy’s fantasy. Costumes are, of course, fabulous (it’s rather hard to screw this one up when half of your female cast wears the Dior silhouette), and the rest of stagecraft all come together to give a very solid theatre show. It could’ve been deeper – but it definitely is thought-provoking.  

Richmond Theatre, until 8 April

Image: Neil McDermott, Jessica Ransom, Cassie Bradely & Matthew Douglas