By Hilary Dawes
Returned to the beautifully refurbished Octagon Theatre, Bolton, to see “Home, I’m Darling”, the witty, satirical comedy by the talented Laura Wade.
First sight of the authentic fifties set did indeed invoke a feeling of nostalgia for those who remember that era, all the more so when Judy and Johnny appeared in their fabulous fifties clothes, giving that impression of domestic perfection so often portrayed in early TV commercials.
Judy, however, didn’t actually live through that era, and has an idealised notion of the time, viewed through rose-tinted spectacles. Whilst she tries to live a totally fifties lifestyle, along with husband Johnny, in order to do so she must still embrace modern technology, the irony of which is lost on her!
The loss of a high powered, well paid job has enabled Judy to turn her taste for retro into a lifestyle. One which Johnny (a suave Tom Kanji) was only too happy to go along with, until blissful domesticity begins to unravel as expenses build up and finances dwindle. Sandy Foster excellently portrays mounting nerviness and brittleness as she tries to maintain the façade, but, as her mother (played with acerbic wit by Susan Twist) points out, the truth of life in the fifties was a very different matter and “nostalgia isn’t what it used to be”.
Vicky Binns as Judy’s friend Fran delivers some brilliant throw-away lines, and husband Marcus (a louche Sam Jenkins-Shaw) reminds us what it was like in an era when predatory men like him could do exactly as they pleased! Whilst the two of them enjoy the fifties vibe in music and clothes, they are well and truly living in the present.
In spite of some sadness, the play ends on a high and feel good note, concluding another great evening out at the Octagon.
Mention must be given to the creative team for the imaginative and entertaining set changes, accompanied throughout by the music of the era.
Home, I’m Darling is on until Sat 02 Oct.
Mon 4 October - Sun 17 October 2021
Going the Distance - Online
A brand-new comedy about a little theatre with a huge challenge.
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