When her mother Helen runs off with a car salesman, feisty teenager Jo takes up with Jimmie, a sailor who promises to marry her, before he heads for the seas. Art student Geof moves in and assumes the role of surrogate parent until, misguidedly, he sends for Helen and their unconventional setup unravels.
A Taste of Honey is a naturalistic, kitchen sink drama whos progressive yet realistic depictions of working-class life makes it hard to believe it was written in the 1950s, given that is is easy to imagine a lot of these circumstances and conversations remaining unchanged in this day. It is a play which takes on not just the issues of domestic life but also matters of race, homosexuality, female sexuality and poverty. This could easily have been written in 2019 as 1958, and this production really keeps the subject matters feeling modern without adjusting the time period in which the play is set.
Coming personally from a working-class background this is a play that made me feel strangely at home, especially in its clever and familiar use of speech patterns and patois that are often hard to capture. Often in ways it might not be comfortable to admit. The introduction of live Jazz music breaks contrasting the glam American style music life with the drudgery of working-class Britain. It’s not all doom and gloom, throughout the bickering, jabs and snipes at each other it’s easy to see the real affection and love between the characters, even though the complicated relationships and many strains put on the mother and daughter duo. Its laugh out loud funny and you can’t help but be charmed by the characters, even at their most selfish.
A Taste of Honey is a real, amusing and heartfelt look into working-class life. It’s now on at the Trafalgar Studios until the 29th of February 2020, tickets start from £25 and can be from London Box Office Website.
Tickets were complimentary in exchange for a review, all words and opinions are my own.