Anyone who did not get a chance to see The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband directed by Eve Wersocki Morris at Lee Rosy’s Tea Rooms really missed out on a treat.
The play circled around three characters and their own interactions; Hilary the title character, whose husband Kenneth eventually leaves her for Laura, a younger, sexier woman whose only flaw is that she can’t cook. Kenneth, trapped between his love of food and his love of sex, remains torn between the two, with fatal consequences.
Whilst the characters are meant to be stereotypes of their personas – the frumpy wife, the sexy other woman and the philandering, pig-headed man – and are to comic effect, the play also manages to explore the more human depths these stereotypes are based on, and this is brilliantly brought out by the actors. James Bentley’s Kenneth is every inch the entitled man; coming up with hilarious justifications for his actions whilst claiming he deserves sympathy for letting himself loose with his baser instincts. He manages to be both the strongest and the weakest character in the play, adding a lovely paradigm to the proceedings, and his childish demands tie the play together.
Emily Brady’s Laura is every inch the pouty, male fantasy wrapped up in a strong, confidant woman, but what is particularly nice about her performance is she manages to convey the actual human underneath it all. She has self-respect, doesn’t want to be tied down to the kitchen but also because she can’t bear to look at recipe books when she herself is trying to maintain her figure. We have genuine sympathy for Laura’s situation, even if she is traditionally portrayed as ‘the enemy’. She is also genuinely hilarious; and particular mention to the sex scene has to be made.
Finally, but far from least, Abby Robinson’s Hilary steals the show as the title character, who does in fact plan to cook her husband. Managing to be as adorable as she is creepy, she follows the mantra ‘don’t get mad, get even.’ Despite her situation she’ll have you laughing throughout the entire play, and the twist at the end was a particularly gruesome depiction of girl power.
Whilst the set was quite bare, with only a sofa in a bare room, it didn’t need anything else. The actors themselves, made up both the entertainment and the decoration, with some of the best facial expressions. If I had any criticism at all, it was that the audience set up made it quite hard for some people to see this wonderful acting (and that it wasn’t long enough!) Though it is said it’s always good to leave the audience wanting more.
With some disgusting uses of food, very un-sensual uses of sex and frankly creative uses of Tom Jones, this play is one to see, and one to treasure.