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Home, I'm Darling - 13Feb24

Review by Claire Taranaski

Library Theatre, Sheffield

Directed by Joe Gascoyne-Thompson

A few years ago, when Laura Wade’s five times Laurence Olivier Award nominated play Home, I’m Darling! was all the rage I resisted with the hope that Tudor Players would one day be the right Sheffield company to pull it off, and this week, thanks to an incredible cast and tremendous first time directing by Joe Gascoyne-Thompson (proving he is equally or more talented directing as he is a regular cast member with the company), confirmed it was more than worth the wait.

In a production where nothing about it would lead me to believe it was not a professional touring show and was Tudor Players at their very best, all of the cast where faultless in their delivery and bringing the show to life. However special praise must be given to Siobhan Hible as Judy, who had wonderful stage presence (she could just have easily delivered this as a one woman show), captured the wannabe 50s housewife perfectionist perfectly and beautifully taking us on her reluctant emotional journey with her (whilst putting us off following her in her tracks) and giving Katherine Parkinson a run for her money.

Anyone who has previously read a review of a Tudor Players production starring Ross Bannister will not need reminding of what a superb actor I think he is and this production just confirms that further, with his superb stage presence and chemistry with Siobhan that made their rollercoaster relationship journey captivating whilst also him being perfectly suited to the 1950s style.

I must also give a special mention to Nicky Beards who played Judy’s mother Sylvia, and not just for giving me serious style envy. Nicky is one of those actresses who you feel you have seen in lots of superb on-screen performances and are shocked when you realised, she hasn’t. Her monologue explaining why the 1950s were not as great for women as everyone thinks was delivered with passionate and powerful perfection and it would be a sin if we have to wait another 14 years for her to return to a Tudor Players show.

I would also like to welcome Danielle Victoria and Rhiannon Jones to Tudor Players and look forward to seeing what you do with the company next and Tommy Jones as Marcus, I hope I never have the misfortune of being employed in the same workplace as your character.

I must also praise Joe and Hansel D’Roza for their set design and all of the set construction team for one of the cleverest single sets I have seen on an amateur stage, not only perfectly capturing a 1950s home interior (I got serious fridge envy even if the script suggests it hardly ever works) but also fitting all the rooms of a two-floor house on the stage at one time, easily allowing the audience to follow the characters from one room to another.

Paraphrasing 1950s prime minister Harold MacMillan, with Home, I’m Darling! Tudor Player audiences have never had it so good!