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A Taste of Honey at The National Theatre

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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The Bitter Sweet Realities of Post-War Britain

Frustrated by the 'gormless' portrayal of northern working class people, at the age of nineteen, Shelagh Delaney wrote a taboo-breaking play in just ten days. A Taste of Honey (1958) was immediately by accepted by Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop for its 'meaty content' about class, race, gender, and homosexuality.

It tells the story of seventeen year old Jo, whose mother, Helen, has run off with a rich car salesman. Left to fend for herself, Jo falls for a black sailor who agrees to marry her. But shortly after falling pregnant, she is abandoned once again when he goes off the sea.

Jo then meets, Geoff, a gay man who takes her in, and becomes a surrogate father. Geoff thinks he is doing the right thing when he sends for Jo's mother, but when Helen returns, all hell breaks loose.

A Taste of Honey is playing at the National Theatre until the 11th May. Tickets range from 15-50, and there are several talks you can attend to enrich the experience.

Dreams and Disappointments
22nd March, 5

Actor, Sue Johnston, and playwrights, Jim Cartwright and Simon Stephens discuss the realism of this kitchen sink play, along with scripted readings.

Sheibani and Bechtler on A Taste of Honey
20th February, 4

The Director and designer discuss their work on the production.

Murray Melvin
28th March, 4

Murray Melvin played Geoffrey in the debut performance of A Taste of Honey; he discusses his career with Michael Billington.
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Why? Fun at the theatre
When: Until 11th May
Phone: 020 7452 3000
Where: National Theatre
Cost: 15-50
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