Review Round Up: Home, I’m Darling, National Theatre

Tamara Harvey’s production arrives at the National Theatre following a run at the Theatre Clwyd. Here’s what the critics are making of its London run…

Ham & High: **** “While Parkinson on comic form delivering dry observation about the absurdity of modern mores, Wade neatly skewers the artifice of Judy’s 50s fantasy and the kind of nostalgia for the past that got us into Brexit.”

Culture Whisper: **** “This is a play of ideas. Wade’s penmanship nimbly tackles the fantasies of domesticity, the empty nostalgia of a simpler time, the stereotypes of gender, and the battle between the different waves of feminism. Although the narrative is slim, it makes space for an incisive character study of a woman driven to destructive absurdity by her unrelenting fantasies of a pristine, perfectly petticoated life.”

Time Out: **** “It feels sparky, knowing and totally natural, bringing light to Anna Fleischle’s immaculately detailed retro set. Yup, there are a few can of worms that Wade’s play chooses not to open – like what happens when women stay at home to look after children or older relatives, rather than as some kind of elaborate retrograde flourish. But otherwise, it’s an admirably brisk, thorough airing of all the resentments that rigidly policed gender roles bring. Sure, dig out the petticoats, but some things are better left in the past.”

The Independent: “It’s a sharp, funny and sad dissection of a doomed attempt to achieve marital bliss by retreating into a delusional cocoon.”

WhatsOnStage: **** ” loved too the way Wade keeps the flow of ideas coming while also fashioning a neat little plot. The ending is perhaps too pat, and a development which takes in the concerns of the #MeToo generation, and just how the relations between the sexes work in a contemporary office setting, feels a little bolted on, but its sudden shaft of fiercely unpleasant predation highlights the dangers of clinging to old attitudes.”

London **** “It’s a fascinating play about gender roles in modern life, and how they have evolved so much over the last half a century, and gives a different face to what empowering women looks like. But by all accounts, it feels fresh to see a good play written, directed and starring women on the National’s stage.” “Home, I’m Darling is an intelligent and enjoyable play, the value of which lies primarily in its reminder that the past was never perfect but then neither is the present.”

British **** ” If the play is a tad pedestrian in places, it’s because the arguments are  sometimes too diametric and simplistic, and the couple work out a way to carry on, so perhaps the dramatic stakes are not raised high enough. But that said,   it’s witty, wise and  an engaging play, a feast for the eyes and the mind.”

The Upcoming: **** “Home, I’m Darling doesn’t initially seem like a #MeToo play, or a Trump play, or a Brexit play. And it’s certainly not only those things, touching on the idea of feminism as individual choice and the basic tensions of who does what in a relationship. And yet, Laura Wade does an incredible job of commenting on our current moment without it ever becoming specifically an “issues” narrative, showing how very easy it is for regressive attitudes – at best dormant, but perhaps never really gone – to be green-lit by such rose-tinted glasses. ”

The Reviews Hub: **** “While Wade’s play clearly speaks to the events of #MeToo and Time’s Up, it deals with something much more fundamental than that, dramatizing an issue that has been at the heart of feminist debate for decades between working women and those who choose to be a wife and mother.”

Broadway World: **** “Parkinson is extraordinary in this role, from the manic, overly bright housewife act to teeth-gritting confrontations with her mother, lightning-fast reaction shots, and finally a poignant breakdown.”

Exeunt Magazine: “Ultimately the play feels like a love letter to cooperation on any couple’s own terms; a right to choose, but to choose from options that don’t necessarily even exist until you make them up together.”

Theatre Bubble: **** “While we all may look back at previous eras as time when life was less complicated and ultimately happier, Laura Wade’s play is a perfect examination of how such a rose-tinted view is distinctly cloudy. Our attitudes to work and domesticity have come a long way in the last 60 years and much of this progress has been very positive. This play has an ultimately uplifting message that, by stopping short of becoming too dark, is conveyed with charm and intelligence.”

Evening Standard: **** “Opting out of modern life is a tantalising fantasy for all of us at times, but the utterly compelling Parkinson shows how Judy discovers the lonely dangers of immersing oneself too completely in an illusion.”

Londonist: ***** “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 continues to play at the National Theatre until the 5th September. For more information visit:




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