Home, I’m Darling: Wyong Drama Group

Home, I’m Darling by Wyong Drama Group, currently staged at the Red Tree Theatre, offers a nostalgic yet scrutinising lens on the idealised domestic life of the 1950s through the experiences of Judy and her husband, Johnny. The play, written by Laura Wade, revolves around a couple’s decision to transform their modern lifestyle back to that of the 1950s—a choice that initially seems quaint and endearing but gradually reveals underlying layers of dissatisfaction and identity crisis. The plot delicately unfolds Judy’s struggle to align her romanticised view with the realities of her marriage and contemporary values, leading to a poignant exploration of personal authenticity versus societal expectation.

Director Liz Munro’s vision for this production delivers some poignant moments but falters somewhat in execution. The inclusion of musical and set interludes, while intended to enhance the period feel, adds an unnecessary thirty minutes to the runtime, diluting the play’s impact. The staging concept of having stagehands dressed as maids, though creative, often interrupts the narrative flow, shifting the emotional tone abruptly and detracting from the audience’s engagement.

The set design succeeds to some extent in transporting the audience back to the 1950s, though the use of pop art cartoonish props feels incongruous and underdeveloped, failing to convincingly evoke the era. The costumes reflect a similar inconsistency—some brilliantly capture the essence of the 50s, while others miss the mark, presenting a jarring disconnect from the present-day setting.

Despite these directorial and design missteps, the cast delivers commendable performances. Their ability to develop their characters beyond mere caricatures helps keep the audience invested in their stories despite some inconsistencies in accents and character portrayal. Kyle Walbank portrays Johnny with a nuanced submission, effectively complementing Kelsey Hunter’s Judy, whose portrayal interestingly emphasises the mental health aspects of her character more than the script ostensibly suggests. Yvonne Adamski Feldt’s Alex brings a smattering of personable moments to her scenes, and Steve Burchill’s Marcus provides a necessary charm in tougher scenes of the show.

Madi Leidich stands out as Fran, providing a grounding presence with her realistic portrayal that holds many of the scenes together. However, the definitive standout is Ruth Crawley as Sylvia, whose brief appearance is marked by a powerful monologue that strikingly challenges the play’s constructed domestic bliss.

Home, I’m Darling‘s engaging exploration of themes such as identity, mental health, and the allure of nostalgia makes it a valuable experience for those interested in thoughtful, character-driven drama. This production, with its mix of humour, emotional depth, and period charm, is sure to provide an entertaining and thought-provoking evening at the theatre. If you appreciate plays that delve into the intricacies of human relationships and societal norms, then don’t miss out!

– The other Daniel Craig


Daniel Craig is an international performer and has established himself as a trusted theatre specialist on the Sydney Arts Scene. While he understands the technical side of theatre, Dan writes for the everyday theatregoer (unlike some of those more prominent publications). When not in the audience, he loves to travel the world trying new gin. Follow him on all the socials @talldancraig

Home, I’m Darling runs for three hours (including 20 min interval) and plays at the Red Tree Theatre through 27 April 2024. Tickets are available through Red Tree Theatre’s Box Office.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were guests of Wyong Drama Group.
Image credit: Andy Kabanoff.