Home, I'm Darling Will Have You Longing For A Vintage Lifestyle

Home, I’m Darling, National Theatre ★★★★★

Home, I'm Darling Will Have You Longing For A Vintage Lifestyle Home, I’m Darling, National Theatre 5
Photo: Manuel Harlan

Judy and Johnny are living in a domestic idyll. She’s a sexless Nigella putting dinner on the table and, churning out cakes with the ease of Mary Berry while he goes out to work. It might sound quaint but that’s because it is. They’ve chosen to forgo modern life and live in a fetishised version of the 1950s. Forget scrolling Instagram, fretting about terrorist attacks and buckling under work pressures. They’re too busy jiving, bathed in canary yellows and gleaming Formica, clad in quiffs and swing skirts. There’s gritting of teeth and a quiet desperation beneath the suburban bliss, though.

Photo: Manuel Harlan

Laura Wade’s back after her ribald expose of the Bullingdon boys in Posh, and it’s a witty and bittersweet comment on modern living. Judy is played to sugary perfection (with a pinch of desperation) by Katherine Parkinson (The I.T. Crowd, Humans). Frowned upon by her ultra-feminist mother (a formidable Sian Thomas), keeping busy by perpetually wiping down the surfaces and hiding away in her vintage-porn house; it’s not hard to see that there’s more to this than meets the eye and it’s this that propels the play beyond whimsy.

Photo: Manuel Harlan

The irony of the play is that while you marvel at the lengths the couple go to to avoid 21st century life, you’ll probably also be drooling over the costumes and Anna Fleischle’s set and secretly longing for a vintage lifestyle yourself.

Home, I’m Darling, National Theatre, Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PX. Tickets £15-50, until 5 September 2018.

Last Updated 01 August 2018