Home, I’m Darling is worth seeing for the costumes alone, Jessica Ransom is the perfect model for the 1950s dresses, fresh pastels and prints with frilly petticoats peeping out beneath, swirly skirts, and neat aprons, all reminded me of my own mother making pastry at the kitchen table when I came home from school. Laura Wade’s play follows Judy and Johnny, her husband, as they embark on a lifestyle change after her redundancy, following their passion for all things 1950 she will stay at home being a domestic goddess and although they will have less money their work life balance will be much the better. Johnny is happy for this, but Judy’s mother Sylvia considers the change to be undoing all the work her generation did in striving for the recognition of women as more than just homemakers, giving them career choice and independence.
Jessica Ransom is great as Judy portraying both sides of the character with admirable ease; on the surface Judy loves her new life with its yearly holidays to a vintage festival where they can indulge in dancing retro style but in the shadows does she regret relying on Johnny for everything and in turn feel diminished by it. She has a great rapport with Neil McDermott who plays Johnny, a typical male who perhaps at first loves to be waited on and indulged by a loving wife with no other focus but him, but then his interest begins to wander.
Cassie Bradley and Matthew Douglas play Judy and Johnny’s friends Fran and Marcus, and we admired their great jiving skills on show between scenes as it were. Diane Keen makes good substance of the role of Sylvia, Judy’s mother, her disappointment is palpable for the loss of her once career-led daughter with a whiff of blame for that to be laid at Johnny’s door. Shanez Pattni as Alex, Johnny’s boss, a young woman who has the power to push the button for his promotion (or not) is elegant and confident and perfectly illustrates the difficulties faced when traditional roles are reversed.
The story is an interesting concept of a couple whilst living in modern times (there are glimpses of Judy’s laptop) trying to turn the clock back to simpler age when people were perhaps happier – or were they? It’s a great thought-provoking story, funny at times, emotional at others and the close-knit cast make it very enjoyable from start to finish.
Theatre Royal Bath, Sawclose, Bath BA1 1ET