Review by Sherri Ogden Wellington
You will be obsessed by this play
Home, I’m Darling, written by Lauren Wade, was first staged in 2018 in England. Home, I’m Darling tackles several intricate topics including fantastical thinking, obsession, basic honesty within relationships, and misogyny, perpetrated by both men and women. It is filled with humor, tragedy and pain and is being presented by Falcon Theatre through October 14.
The Plot of Home, I’m Darling
The play revolves around an English couple, Judy and Johnny. Judy loves nearly everything that is the 1950’s–the furniture, the clothes, the gender roles, and the values? Well certain values anyway, for instance, having someone (usually, if not always the woman) at home to keep it running well and supporting the breadwinner and someone to bring in the money (usually, if not always the man). Judy wants them both to always be happy but at what cost? For the most part, Johnny goes along until the cost is too much to bear.
Judy, 35 years old, takes a voluntary redundancy from her high power job in finance. (Voluntary redundancy, is term used in England, when someone gets paid money to leave their job voluntarily. So now you and I know.) She then sets out to become the ideal 1950’s housewife. Over the next three years, she feels that she is working hard to help make her husband free from outside worries so that he can concentrate on his job. She keeps a spotless home and caters to him excessively. Unfortunately, Johnny is unhappy and is underperforming in his job. They have serious financial problems which leads to serious marital problems.
Judy (Rachel Mock) seems to live in a world of her own where she wants everything simple, like the cereal factory to remain the cereal factory and not be turned into a new mall. This character is difficult to understand. She claims that she is a feminist yet puts herself into a position that makes her vulnerable and subservient to her husband. Rachel Mock is convincing in her role, even when she goes on rants supporting her lifestyle choice of the 1950’s. Her sparkling eyes and hurried movements when upset capture you. There are so many inconsistencies in her belief system, however, which keeps one focused on her.
Johnny (Austin Michael Fidler) is a more practical man and thus more realistic in that he goes along with what his wife wants until he can’t take it anymore and fights back. Fidler has several romantic scenes with Mock and does a very convincing job that he loves his wife! One can easily relate to him in dealing with his wife’s obsession.
Fran (Samantha Joy Luhn) and Marcus (Aaron Whitehead) are foils to Johnny and Judy. Acting as friends to Judy and Johnny, Fran illuminates the fantastical thinking of Judy and Marcus is the opposite of how kind and honest Johnny is. Luhn is quite dramatic in her acting which adds both humor and fear to the story. Whitehead successfully plays the role of a man who is not what he appears to be.
Alex (Zoe Peterson) is Johnny’s boss. Peterson convinces you of her honesty and her ability to do her job successfully and with honor. Her interactions with Judy, illuminates Judy’s insecurities and her need to control what happens to Johnny. Peterson’s energy and enthusiasm is enjoyable to watch.
Now Sylvia! Sylvia (Cathy Roesener) takes over when she is on the stage. She plays Judy’s mother and even though she brought Judy up in a commune, her common sense, her outspoken-ness and her insight into her daughter’s own self-loathing spews honesty. Her simplistic insight into misogyny makes everything clearer. Roesener is a force.
The Production Team
It always takes a team to put on such a sensational show. Director, Becca Howell, is revered in her work by many. Stage Manager, Jake Schaub, is to be noted for his contribution in this performance. Scenic Design, Ted Weil, who also does Lighting Design, Set Construction, Set Decor AND the Lobby Display, again has made this play work. The furniture and set construction are realistic however, I am not so convinced that those pictures on the walls are from the 1950s! Rachel Scardina (Costume Design) must have been extremely busy preparing for this play. There were some beautiful vintage dresses and so many changes in outfits for Judy. Kudos to Scardina. Erin Carr is the Intimacy Coordinator in this production. She did an incredible job since the kisses and other things happening always appear realistic and relaxed.
Tickets to Home, I’m Darling
Is there a better way than to spend your night seeing a really good play, like Home, I’m Darling? I don’t think so. Thus, treat yourself and go see it! Click HERE for ticket information. Home, I’m Darling runs through October 14, performances are at 8:00 pm at Falcom Theatre, Newport, KY. The show has a run time of 2 hours 15 minutes, with a 15 minute intermission.