A co-production between Theatre by the Lake, the Octagon Theatre, Bolton, and Stephen Joseph Theatre where it was recorded, this production of Home, I’m Darling is full of vivacity, energy, and brilliance.
Directed by Liz Stephenson, the script by Laura Wade comes alive with a full set, and carefully crafted lighting and sound. The piece flows well, with excellently choreographed transitions that keep the mood alive and the energy focused.
Home, I’m Darling follows married couple Johnny and Judy as they live their happily ever after life of domestic bliss. Johnny and Judy embark on living life as if they are in the 1950s, with a mix of hilarious and poignant consequences. Examining what makes a happy marriage, gender roles, and what equates a well lived life, the play is gentle, yet overt in its messages.
Home, I’m Darling is led by actress Sandy Foster as Judy. Foster plays her character’s subtext well, using vocal tone and movement to communicate her inner thoughts and feelings, which in turn enable the audience to empathise with Judy and understand the character’s viewpoint and situation. The character’s naivety is vulnerably performed, but Foster also gives the character depth, creating a well-rounded character with both flaws and strengths.
The rest of the cast support Foster’s character with equally committed performances, bringing the right level of energy and stage presence. Each actor brings their character’s objective into the scene and plays it with focus, along with the thoughts and feelings of their character’s, that, under the direction of Stephenson, makes for exciting theatre.
The design by Helen Coyston creates the 1950’s setting down to the very last detail. The marmalade in a glass jar, tea strainer, and 50’s style furniture all adds to the message and story of the play. The set and props create the happy life of Johnny and Judy that is the focus of the play.
Home, I’m Darling succinctly explores gender roles, feminism, work-life balance, and what makes life worth living in both the current day and times past. The cast works as an ensemble to communicate with the audience about these themes, and together make for an engaging theatre experience. All the elements come together to show what theatre can and should be.
Home, I’m Darling can be seen live on stage at the SJT until Saturday 14 August 2021. It will then be performed at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton, from 1 September to 2 October and at Theatre by the Lake, Keswick from 6 to 30 October.