Home, I'm Darling

Previewed 24 July 2018, Opened 31 July 2018, Closed 5 September 2018 (in repertory) at the National Theatre's Dorfman Theatre
Previewed 26 January 2019, Opened 5 February 2019, Closed 13 April 2019 at the Duke of York's Theatre

The West End Premiere of Laura Wade's new play Home, I'm Darling in London - a transfer from London's National Theatre

How happily married are the happily married? Every marriage needs a little fantasy to keep it sparkling. But behind the gingham curtains, being a domestic goddess isnít as easy as it looks. A dark comedy about sex, cake... and the quest to be the perfect 1950s housewife.

The cast features Katherine Parkinson as 'Judy' and Richard Harrington as her husband 'Johnny', with Susan Brown as her mother 'Sylvia', Sara Gregory as 'Alex', Siubhan Harrison as 'Fran' and Hywel Morgan as 'Marcus' - who all reprise their roles from the National Theatre run. Directed by Tamara Harvey with choreography by Charlotte Broom, designs by Anna Fleischle, lighting by Lucy Carter and sound by Tom Gibbons. This is a co-production between the National Theatre and Theatr Clwyd.

Katherine Parkinson's credits include the role of 'Eleanor' in Terry Johnson's revival of his comedy Dead Funny at the Vaudeville Theatre in 2016; and the role of 'Diana' in Jeremy Herrin's revival of Alan Ayckbourn's play Absent Friends at the Harold Pinter Theatre in 2012.

Laura Wade's West End theatre credits include the Posh at the Royal Court Theatre in 2010 and Duke of York's Theatre in 2012.

When this production opened here at the Duke of York's Theatre in London's West End in February 2019, Ben Lawrence in the Daily Telegraph said that in "Laura Wade's slick and very enjoyable play... like Judy and Johnny's lives, I felt something wasn't quite right. I never quite understood the psychology behind Judy's behaviour... But there is much to enjoy in both Wade's finely tuned comedy and in all elements of the production's design" Ann Treneman in the Times explained that "Laura Wade's play is the story, highly stylised to the point of cartoon, of a woman so afraid of modern life that she hides from it all by creating a fantasy 1950s world... The pacing is not perfect, but it is great to see a show that tackles feminism, sexual harassment and, perhaps most fascinating of all, fantasy home decoration." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard highlighted that "Laura Wade's witty, sad and clever play is a portrait of crippling obsession... an intriguing study of marriage's reliance on roleplay, as well as an original, sometimes unsettling look at the masks people put on in order to conceal their pain."

The cast at the National Theatre's Dorfman Theatre in London - previewed 24 July 2018, opened 31 July 2018, closed 5 September 2018 (in repertory) - featured Katherine Parkinson as Judy' and Richard Harrington as 'Johnny', with Susan Brown as 'Sylvia', Sara Gregory as 'Alex', Siubhan Harrison as 'Fran', and Hywel Morgan as 'Marcus'.

When this production opened National Theatre's Dorfman Theatre in July 2018, Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard hailed that "zinging examination of what it means to be the perfect Fifties housewife. Or, at least, that's what Laura Wade initially appears to be examining... [the] production fizzes with energy." Paul Taylor in the i newspaper praised this "sharp, funny and sad dissection of a doomed attempt to achieve marital bliss by retreating into a delusional cocoon... The brilliant Katherine Parkinson treads a tricky tightrope between the comic and the desperately poignant in Tamara Harvey's accomplished and generous-spirited production." Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times described how, "in one sense, Laura Wade's funny, ingenious new play is a response to Ibsen's A Doll's House... Wade's script is precariously balanced ó it takes real skill to maintain the tart surface humour and sharp detail, while gradually allowing the drama's serious concerns to roll out. She achieves it beautifully, aided by Tamara Harvey's funny, tightly observed staging on Anna Fleischle's delightfully precise set." Neil Norman in the Daily Express commented that Laura Wade "explores gender disparity and shifting attitudes between the sexes... Katherine Parkinson is terrific and well matched by the cast around her." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail said that "this production, which has charm and moments of comedy and pathos, has plenty going for it," as "playwright Laura Wade brings things to a skilful simmer as money and career problems force Judy and Johnny to reconsider their 'gingham paradise' and their rebellion against reality."

The cast at the Theatr Clwyd in Wales - previewed 25 June 2018, opened 3 July 2018, closed 14 July 2018 - featured Katherine Parkinson 'Judy' and Richard Harrington 'Johnny', with Sian Thomas as 'Sylvia', Sara Gregory 'Alex', Kathryn Drysdale 'Fran', and Barnaby Kay 'Marcus'.

When this production opened at the Theatr Clwyd in Wales in July 2018, Dominic Maxwell in the Times praised how "Tamara Harvey's sympathetic, propulsive production is acted to perfection. Katherine Parkinson is outstanding... Richard Harrington gives a beautiful, unshowy performance." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph said that, in "Tamara Harvey's brisk, polished but sometimes vocally underpowered production... Katherine Parkinson is "undeniably comic, yet her brittleness explains why this escapism might be her salvation, and she passionately defends her right to choose, allowing herself the absurd contradiction of internet-surfing while refusing to buy pizza."

"Tamara Harvey's production is powered by Katherine Parkinson as a woman in the grip of an obsessive madness. A longtime collaborator of the writer of this play, Laura Wade, she is one of few comic actresses who can dance on this knife edge of despair and hilarity. Never will you watch a woman polish her silverware with such fury... With such a focus on aesthetics, the set becomes a central character, and the designer, Anna Fleischle, rises to the challenge beautifully... Parkinson holds this production together, but she is helped by an able and consistent cast. As Johnny, Richard Harrington captures the unease of a man who'd love to make his own contribution to the office Bake Off, if only his wife didn't insist on baking herself... Wade's script still has the odd draggy moment. The absurdity of the conceit has its problems... In a play about "choice" feminism, one wants to know more about Judy's decision not to have children, beyond the suggestion in an early scene that they might have soiled the homemade curtains. But as Judy takes darker and more extreme steps to sustain her fantasy, she becomes a gripping antiheroine." The Sunday Times

"This is a cracking new play by Laura Wade. It's about a married couple whoíve done up their house fifties-style, dress in Fifties clothes, and are even living out their 21st-century marriage in Fifties roles... Katherine Parkinson is superb as the childless, brittle wife, and Richard Harrington dead dapper as her fantasy husband. Wittily directed by Tamara Harvey on a fabulous Fifties dollís-house set, this show reveals that Laura Wade is half in love with a safer, kinder past. This crispy cheese straw of a comedy shines a light in some dark corners of a coupleís dream, and the Fifties soundtrack is a joy." The Mail on Sunday

"There are all sorts of thorny modern questions about housework and who does it that aren't answered here. Instead, Laura Wade is more interested in the way the nostalgia industry fetishises a past whose reality was invariably pretty grim, particularly for women. Judy thinks she is exercising a choice by devoting herself to looking after her husband but, of course, it's a false choice, not only based on a 1950s fantasy but historically a construct of a patriarchal society... Wade cleverly shows how objects, whatever their aesthetic or authentic value, offer no refuge from the uglier complications of life, in a play that's more humane love story than political theatre." The London Metro

Home, I'm Darling in London at the Duke of York's Theatre previewed from 26 January 2019, opened on 5 February 2019, and closed on 13 April 2019