Home, I’m Darling (National Theatre: Dorfman) JohnnyFox September 6, 2018 Reviews, Theatre A few days after I heard Jemima Rooper yearn for a matchbox house in the suburbs in her perfect rendition of ‘Somewhere That’s Green’ from Little Shop of Horrors, here’s Katherine Parkinson – the actually funny one from The IT Crowd – living that dream at the National in Laura Wade’s Home, I’m Darling. The premise is that Parkinson’s character Judy and her husband played by Richard Harrington have consensually decided to live a 1950’s lifestyle without modern gadgetry, but with splendid swirling-skirt print dresses and in a house gleaming with Formica and abstract geometrics. Formerly having the bigger income, her adoption of a career as a housewife works well enough until the husband’s estate-agency salary isn’t enough to sustain their lifestyle. With her brightly surfaced defence of the domestic regime, and his pressured existence within an estate agency, there’s an immediate parallel with Beverly in Abigail’s Party, which I also saw this week. What goes around comes around. It’s enjoyable, in the same way watching a re-run of Samantha’s happy domesticity in Bewitched would be enjoyable, but without the nose-twitching, although Sian Thomas as Judy’s superbly impatient mother could pass for a textbook-feminist version of Endora. You watch and wait for something to go wrong. And it does. If you’ve ever wondered what Nicola Walker’s husband does in the evenings while she’s out winning BAFTA’s, here is Barnaby Kay firstly grooving through the scene changes swing-dancing with Kathryn Drysdale – the actually funny one from Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps – then more sinisterly showing a darker side as a sexual predator. Tamara Harvey’s production is ambivalent – on the one hand, it’s Terry and June with sex, on the other it’s a dissection and debate on what happens to the concept of wifely domesticity when it’s taken to extremes. Judy is visibly a slave to the house, and to her husband, but if she’s opted for it voluntarily, how much of a cage – or a burka – can it be? All the cast are excellent, but it’s Parkinson who shines – brittly and brilliantly, defending her dream long after it’s become unfeasible, Nora in a 1950’s Doll’s House. I thought it was a fascinating insight into that relentless question straight men ask ‘what do women want?’, but made me wonder also, in the age of equal marriage, how many younger gay men might want something similar too. And what they’d sacrifice to achieve it. Current run sold out, but well worth checking for a new season at the NT.