HOME, I’M DARLING | London, Duke of York’s Theatre

Transferring from a sell-out run at the National Theatre in 2018, Laura Wade’s challenging new play asks many questions. Is the power struggle of the 1950s alive and well in 2019? Or does modern day gender politics find women wielding new power? Might the mobile, modern feminist choose not to work – and should there be shame in this? And if we do always rebel against our parents’ agendas, will this debate ever end?

Whatever the answer, one message is clear: as long as we communicate and collaborate, we can make anything work, and that’s exactly what this cast manage. With swift, rhythmical movement, all six players achieve seamless scene changes and ensemble working, directed masterfully by Tamara Harvey, to create pace and vibrancy in a very simple setting.

The set (Anna Fleische) is designed to look like an entire house, and is a perfect pastiche of 1950s utopia. Loud patterns, quirky furniture and vintage costumes are all designed with exquisite detail and very much used for comic effect. In fact, one of the loudest laughs comes from an automated scenery change that sees the whole home decorated in moments.

Flying between cutting, didactic monologues and sickly affection, the cast plays on the audience’s emotions with ease. Susan Brown gives a stand out performance as the outraged mother – with her punchy delivery evoking spontaneous applause – whilst Katherine Parkinson’s Judy leaves us questioning whether either side of a relationship is truly at one with their chosen role.

The play is an undoubted success, but may leave some feeling cheated from an entirely happy ending, and others a little confused. Many will, however, enjoy the unanswered questions that Home, I’m Darling allows them to debate at their next cocktail party, over their devilled eggs and gimlets.

Booking online until 13 April 2019.

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