The National Theatre‘s production of Shelagh Delaney‘s A Taste of Honey centres on the relationship between a mother, Helen, and her daughter, Jo, as they both fight their way through the harsh realities of poverty and desperate escapism.
While Helen finds her escape route in the form of a car salesman (or his wallet), her daughter falls in love with a sailor who never comes home, leaving her pregnant and alone.
Jodie Prenger is phenomenal as the cruel, quick-witted and egocentric Helen while Gemma Dobson breathes life into the plight and vulnerability of Jo, although I just could not warm to her character.
The production at times felt a little flat, although the injection of blues and jazz music by the live band, permanently situated on stage is a fantastic addition. Set design by Hildegard Bechtler and lighting by Paul Anderson is appropriately distinctive and atmospheric.
This production won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s definitely worth a watch.
Reviewed by Rosie Bambury
Photo: Marc Brenner
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