After their long-awaited return to the Markham Theatre stage this past November, Markham Little Theatre is back this February for their first show of 2023 with Laura Wade’s new comedy Home, I’m Darling.
“After two years of pandemic shut-downs, (we) decided to celebrate our re-opening by bringing an entertaining year of comedy to the stage,” says company president, Sarah McDonald. “This play is at once fun and heartbreaking, and Markham Little Theatre is incredibly proud to bring it to our patrons.”
First performed in London in 2018, Wade’s play invites us to question our love of nostalgia in a world that can seem overwhelming.
Its main character, Judy, has always dreamed of an ideal 1950s lifestyle, and she and her husband are living it. It makes her happy, but she is living an illusion. Desperate to keep the rosy contentment she has worked so hard to create, Judy must find a way to cope when reality knocks on her door.
“We cling to the comforting notion of “the good old days,” forgetting that things have changed for a reason,” explains McDonald.
Directed by the team of Steve Birtles and Michèle Browne, Home, I’m Darling features Judy Atherton as Judy, John Fetherston as her husband, with Kirsty Campbell, Tristan Stansfield, Susan Pybus and Christine Charnock rounding out the talented cast.
”MLT audiences will recognize many of the cast members,” continues McDonald. “These wonderful local actors have been rehearsing for weeks and the team brings a wealth of experience to the stage.”
The retro vibe of the play presents extra challenges for the company. It features crinolines and swing skirts to mid-century furnishings and décor. The costume, props, and set-dressing crew members have been scouring local thrift stores (and their own basements) for months.
Further, the two-storey set design is an interesting one for Markham Little Theatre. The construction team, led by René Vriends and Phil Mitchell, are hard at work building the set pieces at MLT’s Backstage facility on the grounds of the Markham Museum.
“They will have very little time to move, reconstruct, and light Judy’s beautiful dream home in time for the four-day performance block,” says McDonald, “but MLT’s creative volunteers will get it done.”
The company has been run entirely by volunteers for its entire, award-winning, 50-year history. Their mission of bringing quality, affordable theatre to local audiences has been the guiding principle throughout.
Everyone is definitely up to the challenge, but we are always looking for assistance,” says McDonald. “If you are interested in getting involved, reach out. No experience is necessary. Just bring your creativity and enthusiasm, and be prepared to have some fun.”
“It’s impossible to overstate the importance of Markham Little Theatre to our arts community,” Markham Theatre general manager Eric Lariviere says. “It’s always wonderful to have them in the building. We love that they’re back.”
Home, I’m Darling will be presented at Markham Theatre from February 15-18, 2023. All shows begin at 8 p.m., with ticket prices starting at $25.
Visit markhamtheatre.ca for more information.
Photo: Show poster featuring John Fetherston and Judy Atherton.