Home, I’m Darling – Theatr Clwyd
Five years after its birth at Theatr Clwyd, Home, I’m Darling has returned as part of its UK tour. After being lucky enough to see this Olivier award winning show the first-time round, I was excited to see it’s return and how it has developed over the years. Laura Wade has written a fantastic piece, with thought provoking conversations and plenty of wit and humour.
Judy (Jessica Ransom) and Johnny (Neil McDermott) love the 50s and when Judy gets made redundant, she cooks up the idea of living a “traditional” 50s life. She’ll be a stay-at-home housewife, doing all the cooking and cleaning, having her husband’s slippers and drink ready for when he comes home from work. Dressing in beautiful 50s dresses and staying away from current events and devices. At first, it’s the perfect life, but when money starts running short, Johnny realises this fantasy life is not all it’s cut out to be and they must work on their lifestyle and marriage to see how they can survive. Working together and contributing may just save them.
The set is made up of a house looking at it from the front including a kitchen and living room, a larder, and a set of stairs through the middle. A significant difference this time round is that they have changed the upstairs of the set from actual rooms to illustrations of them on to make it look like the rooms looking through the windows. This is probably for ease of touring with less set pieces, but it does keep all the action to downstairs this time. Costumes are beautiful and fit perfectly with the era of the time they are trying to live in. Anna Fleischle has done a wonderful job creating this 50s world for us to transform in to.
With a small cast of six, Ransom and McDermott have a huge role to play when keeping the piece moving along as the supporting cast are only on for a short amount of time. This was where I struggled. I found volume to be a huge issue as the music played at the start and between scenes was quite loud, but the volume of the cast varied hugely. The lack of microphones in this theatre can cause problems I find. You can hear the male cast well as they projected, even shouting at times, whereas the female cast were much harder to hear and understand, especially Ransom. This becomes a problem when the person on stage the longest time is the most difficult to hear. This theatre is quite large, and I was 15 rows back, but I should have been able to hear every word, and this was not the case this time. I also struggled when it came to continuity that every character had a completely different accent making it hard to place where any of the piece was set.
The scene changes were cleverly carried out, using cast members to do this while carrying out some 50s choreography and 50s music. For the most this was enjoyable but there were times, possibly due to it being opening night in a new venue, where the choreography was not as slick as it could have been and looked a little messy at parts. If you are going to add small pieces of dance to carry the piece along, I want it to be punchy and wowing to catch my attention, and in this instance, it just left me feeling flat.
The audience seemed to be having a lovely time and there was lots of laughter and understanding nods when it came to reminiscing about the 50s.
Home, I’m Darling is an enjoyable, fun piece that will appeal to many and bring back memories to those of certain ages.
Running at Theatr Clwyd until Saturday 18th March 2023 with tickets available from www.theatrclwyd.com/event/home-im-darling
Reviewer: Damian Riverol
Reviewed: 14th March 2023
North West End UK Rating: ★★★
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