A Taste of Honey, Crucible

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SHELAGH Delaney’s play, written when she was just 19, looks at the tough life of a pregnant teenager in 1950s working class Manchester.

One of the gritty ‘kitchen sink dramas’ of the time, it doesn’t promise happy endings for Jo (Katie West), who has had little love from a mum Helen (Eva Pope) happy to abandon her for the latest man.

A beautifully portrayed brief time of happiness with a black sailor (David Judge) leaves her pregnant and alone in a seedy bedsit, with only another outsider, Geof (Christopher Hancock), to comfort her and try to break through her hard shell of anger and sadness.

Katie West carries the play, creating a character who starts off as a stroppy child and grows to someone who reaches out to life and is knocked back by her situation.

Eva Pope is spot on as the mum almost incapable of relating to her daughter whose escape into the arms of a man with money (Andrew Knott) is doomed to be shortlived.

Christopher Hancock is engaging as the awkwardly caring gay man Geof. The vicious reactions to him and to the prospect of a black baby are a stark reminder of how naked prejudices were in the 1950s.

Polly Findlay directs extremely well and her idea of having a jazz trio sitting at the edge of the stage works to evoke the time very well. The revolving bedsit set cleverly brings a sense of claustrophobia.