A Taste of Honey
Jim Hutchon was at The Old Court ...
Vince Webb and Debbie Miles’ production of Shelagh Delaney’s 50s play was a real tonic - a beautifully written drama, well acted and directed with a sure touch. Helen, the bitter whore mother with the depth of character of a cigarette paper was played convincingly by Angie Gee who combined banal observations with street wisdom – “There’s two Ws in your future – Work or Want”. The play revolves around the unmarried pregnant daughter Jo, who is a mixture of immature hopelessness and defiant hope. Emma Moriaty played the role with great depth of feeling and a well-judged balance.
The overt racism confronted in the play involves the ‘black boy’ who impregnates then deserts Jo. He was played with grace and an impeccable sense of timing by Tony Thomson. The other shibboleth was raised by the gay student Geoffrey, nicely understated by Liam Collins, who drifts in to stay, tries to impart a sense of order then drifts out again. Helen’s shallow, drunken, spiv, part-time boyfriend, who crashes his unfeeling way through the action, was played with characteristic style by Steve Holding.
The set was a triumph, a depressingly authentic run-down rented room with damp walls, over-stuffed sofa, bare light bulbs, exploding gas hob and a view over the abattoir.
Though there are funny moments, this is not a barrel of laughs. The pace was maintained throughout the very wordy drama, and the final silhouette of Jo in her window presaged a future of hope. The directors call this a piece of social history, but the inherent racism and homophobia in the text ring as true today as ever they did.