Me and Sarah before the show
The year is 1956 and British Television is reaching out to the masses with it's witty and charming game shows. Cue Berty Baxter (Matt Houlihan), the host of new show 'Britain's best housewife' and his wife Betty (Antonia Reid) who between them have to find the lady who treats her man like the god he apparently is, because isn't that what women loved to do during this period? Five ladies compete to win the title of the show,while reflecting on their thoughts of when they were once happy (apparently being a housewife isn't always what it is cracked up to be). With one by one dwindling down until the winner is revealed, the 1950s version of X factor some of you might think, well yes this is correct because there's singing and dancing as well as finding out the best dish to cook your husband.
Recipe for a Perfect wife is a non stop giggle from the start to finish, a camp parody of the stereotypical 1950s housewife and how sweet and innocent our times once were, or so you'd think. The cast seemed to be having a lot of fun through out the show with their own individual personalities from a lady of the Women's institutes to a young wife that wouldn't dare say boo to a goose. There is a strong emphasis on the quaint British accent and makes you somewhat quite proud to be British because of the delightful mannerisms this show had.
I loved the simplicity of the show, the little innuendo's that popped up here and there that made me chuckle to myself through out. The cast was a mighty small number of 10 with the characters of the game show and also the ladies who were the 'Kitty and her Cats' a three piece girl group that greeted the 'gameshow audience' with witty advertisements showing washing powder amongst other things and singing harmonies that reflect the innocent era such as Stupid Cupid and Mr Sandman.
The cast were lucky enough to have my lady friends the Vanity Box on board creating vintage inspired hair styles to help give the show that stand out feel from all the rest and boy did they do a good job, all the ladies in the show had perfectly curled do's that would have suited any show in the 50s. As for the costume, most of the dresses were made by an Islington costume designer and friend of the producers, unfortunately my only negative comment against this is that the ladies looked very similar to one another not saying that they were not nice dresses, oh no, I would certainly wear some of them! However after speaking to PR beaut Olivia Farnesy of Moon on a stick PR, I found out there is talk of having vintage retailers Beyond Retro on board for the show, I think this is a great idea because it would give the show that bit more of nostalgia and make the individual personalities stand out that bit more.
Verity and Gemma of the Vanity Box
The show has come from a sold out season at the Kings Head theatre straight to the Charing Cross theatre which is a cosy little place that makes you feel you are really included in the show instead of having to sit in the gods with a pair of binoculars trying to figure out which ant is which on stage. I recommend the show to anyone that wants to take a step back in time for an evening of fun and frolics from the 50s because it will have you singing along as well as dancing in your seat thanks to the London Swing Dance society who jived their way into the hearts of the audience at the beginning and end of the show.
After the show there is a 50s inspired party full of cupcakes and dancing until late so make sure you get to see it, it is running until December so get in while you can.
Until Next Time
Photography by Christopher Allen