Writer: Shelagh Delaney
Director: Bijan Sheibani
Some may hear the ‘kitchen sink drama’ and run for the hills. They would be wrong to do so with this as the production continues to be as relevant today, as it was when it was written. Shelagh Delaney’s domestic script highlights issues around class, sexual orientation, gender and race and is told in a lively way through bold relatable characters and fiery wit that comes full circle to symbolise the vicious circle of the British class system.
Bijan Sheibani directs the piece and ensures the dialogue between each cast member is slick, natural and punchy. The houselights slowly drop at the start and after the interval and by doing this, it seamlessly blends you into this world of Helen and her daughter Josephine.
The Music by Benjamin Kwasi Burrell underscores the production and heightens climatic moments, while at the same time adding a secondary emotional layer to more sincere parts of the performance. It blends well, while also brings some extra liveness to the piece that helps keep it pacey and dynamic.
At the heart of the cast is Jodie Prenger as Helen who is perfect in the role. Prenger is a bold as brass, northern lass and this shines through naturally in the role, while also exploring the troubles that Helen has endured in the past. Sometimes the quips in the script may get dark but she turns this into something much more light and comical.
Gemma Dobson portrays Helen’s daughter Josephine who develops the character throughout from a girl tired of constantly moving and distant from her mum, to a soon to be single mum; very much a reflection of her own parent. Prenger and Dobson together on stage is when their similarities clash into a burning blaze of dark humour and crude wisecracks.
This new production by the National Theatre challenges a perception people may have about kitchen sink drama. The characters are relatable, the setting is real and this gritty piece is alive and kicking with super quick dialogue and great pacing throughout.
*A complimentary ticket was given in exchange for this review. This value for money rating is based on the ticket price value of £30 + £3 Booking Fee. For more info on this value for money rating please visit here: Introducing a new kind of rating