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A Taste of Honey: A Play

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  1,297 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
A sensational theatrical success in London, A Taste of Honey was written by Shelagh Delaney at the age of 18. The play prompted Graham Greene to say that it had “all the freshness of Mr. Osborne’s Look Back In Anger and a greater maturity.” A Taste of Honey won Miss Delaney two national awards, the sale of film rights productions at Stratford, London, and Paris, and a roun ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published January 11th 1994 by Grove Press (first published 1956)
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Zanna
Delaney wrote this little play, about a working class mother and daughter struggling in Manchester, when she was only 18. Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop developed and produced it in 1958.

It was a radical production because it starred two women. That Jo's nameless boyfriend (and therefore, to her mother's distress, her baby) is Black, that her kind and caring male friend is (implicitly) gay, and that her absent father's mental disability hangs troublingly over her must all have been highly pr
...more
Tristessa
Jan 19, 2009 Tristessa rated it really liked it
In this play, Delaney has sought to to speak for marginalised and unrepresented voices – those that are homosexual, teenagers, and single mothers. She rejects nostalgic Northern working class identities associated with strict gender roles in the gay man/straight woman relationship between Josephine and Geoffrey Ingham. She also rejects the stereotype of the witless and passive working class in the biting sarcastic duologues between Jo and her mother, Helen. Jo also present a cheerful willingness ...more
Trever Polak
I read this because Wikipedia said Delaney was on the cover of the "Girlfriend in a Coma" single and Morrisey claimed she was a big inspiration for him. I guess I can see how the characters' manners of speech reflect Moz's lyrical style, certainly it does moreso than Wilde, but the topic matter is a bit different. The drama wasn't really there but as a character study and work of realism it's a good first play.
Richard
Mar 14, 2011 Richard rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
This play has fantastic dialogue. I had to scramble for my pen constantly as I read it to write down great snarky one-liners (i.e. "The extent of my credulity always depends on the extent of my alcoholic intake"). "A Taste of Honey" was a favorite of that great effeminate Mancunian sad sack, the Moz. He lifted several song lyrics verbatim from the text in question.

The play, indeed, reads a little bit like the theatrical version of a Smiths album. That is, marginalized Northern working-class stif
...more
Realini
May 14, 2015 Realini rated it really liked it

A Taste of Honey by Shelagh Delaney
Modern, dynamic and very good- 9 out of 10

I can still see Rita Tushingham – if I do not have the wrong name- the actress in the lead role in the adaptation for the screen of this excellent play.
The play is exploring the dynamics of modern couples, one involving mixed races and another a much older woman and a young man.
It is all good and nice to have trendy relationships but I would say if they work and when they do not affect collateral victims.
The mother belo
...more
Goldfishing
Klein beetje afleiding van studeren. Voornamelijk gelezen vanwege zgn 'historische waarde/reputatie'.
Michael Meeuwis
Oct 14, 2014 Michael Meeuwis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Weirder--less realistic, far more metatheatrical--than I remember. In its way a monolith of the late-50s English stage, but fizzy and heartbreaking enough to transcend just being a representative sample of the Kitchen Sink. (Social drama: one (1) unit.) A fine movie, but I feel the filming--just by being a film--misses out on the play's more abstract elements. I might say, the play gives impressions of what living amidst postwar poverty was like; but this is not at all the somewhat dour bit of n ...more
Laura
From BBC Radio 4 Extra - 4 Extra Debut.
A pregnant teenage girl and her feckless mother trade insults and repartee in 1950s Salford. Stars Siobhan Finneran.
Reuben
Nov 20, 2014 Reuben rated it liked it
A Taste of Honey is a wonderful vignette of 1950s working-class Britain. It exposes and challenges the then contemporary views of race, homosexuality and single motherhood through its realistic and shrewd writing - issues that Shelagh Delaney felt were being underrepresented in British theatre.

The non-resolution of the plot encourages speculation towards events following the ending, but the relative stagnancy of the characters and narrative ultimately limits the play to remaining within the conf
...more
Robert Bone
I chose to read this play for my English Coursework mainly because it was the shortest option! But I'm glad I did.
Delaney's simple (or non-existent) stage directions leaves a large amount to the imagination, with the only thing keeping you entertained being the quick witted comebacks of Helen, and the subtle hints of their true views on society, and the people around them (which are made even more incredible as you never find out completely): I still am conflicted over Helen and Jo's true relati
...more
Sam Pryce
Mar 16, 2015 Sam Pryce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tragicomedy wracked with the suffering of the Salford working class. Delaney's daring ability to confront huge themes of race, teen pregnancy, infidelity and homosexuality, all in such an enclosed setting, is such a joy to read. I lost a lot of admiration for Morrissey reading this after realising how many of his lyrics are lifted from these pages, without much credit given to their true author. But never mind. I still like him, but Shelagh, take a, Shelagh, take a bow. No, a longer one. Lap i ...more
J
Sep 08, 2015 J rated it it was ok
This short play is predictable and melancholy in 2015. Post modern and perhaps wise for its time and author. I would only recommend this play as a primer to student audience to discuss issues and systems of oppression and their social outcomes, but would not recommend to a friend. The redeemer of this work is the snarky repartee, which is at times laugh-out-loud funny and at others, bitterly biting.
Alex
Feb 07, 2011 Alex rated it liked it
I Have to admit i haven't read many nor am i a big fan of plays, so you can keep that in mind when reading my review. It isn't a terribly long play and (if you ask me it has a ghastly ending)its gets the point across quite well without the inclination for the "Word Vomit" that many playwrights fall victim too in trying to get the point across. Overall it was a good story with some funny quips and what is most valuable from what i can see, A clear and non-revisionist point of view of what it was ...more
Carole
Aug 31, 2016 Carole rated it really liked it
For those of you who have read this play, want to see it on stage and are lucky enough to be in NYC, you can see it at The Pearl Theater from 9/6 to 10/16. Check out their whole season including a new version of Ibsen't Public Enemy (9/29 - 10/29). Enjoy.
Anthony
Jun 07, 2015 Anthony rated it really liked it
"I'm not sorry and I'm not glad."

"I dreamt of you last night, and fell out of bed twice."

"Oh well, the dream's gone, but the baby's real enough."

"You need someone to love you while you look for someone to love."
Juliet
I felt like giving it 2 stars, but nothing really warranted it other than that it was boring. The characters and relationships were well-done however, and if it had featured a monologue by Jo I think I would have worked on it.
Mark
Feb 26, 2015 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Saw the movie, saw the play and now finally read the script.

Oh, and listened a million times to the songs it spawned. I had fun reading this and underlining all the lines that found their way into Morrissey lyrics.
Ann-Sophie
Mar 15, 2014 Ann-Sophie rated it did not like it
I guess I just don't get theatre. Every play I've got to read for class that is suppossed to be brilliant, a classic or whatever just doesn't appeal to me. The characters were so damn annoying and over the top.. I was simply in a bad mood while reading it.
Cassie
Jul 24, 2015 Cassie rated it liked it
Recommends it for: friends of the theatre
Recommended to Cassie by: Gail
I blew through reading this one; I borrowed it from a close friend and she was kind enough to let me keep it with me. I definitely think I need to pick this one up again.
Ryan
Oct 07, 2015 Ryan rated it it was amazing
Incredible play about living within a cold world where love and life allude you, and trying to find contentment if not happiness in the face of sorrow.
Tess
Feb 04, 2015 Tess marked it as to-read
recommendation Dex
beginning of British social realism
Smiths inspiration
gementioned in oranje boek over the Smiths van Dex
Maya Jagger
May 16, 2016 Maya Jagger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy
Feb 08, 2013 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: scripts
I saw this many years ago in performance, but had never read the script. Recently I saw that it is being revived onstage, so decided to read. It really is incredible - especially considering the themes of prostitution, alcoholism, child abuse, unwed pregnancy, homosexuality and multiracial relationship. Most of these themes have become somewhat common in our 21st century theatre, but what is extraordinary about this piece is that the playwright was an 18-year-old woman and she produced this piec ...more
Martin
Mar 19, 2013 Martin rated it really liked it
I'm a huge fan of the film version and wanted to see if I could get anything else from the play. Not really, as the film expands the action and gives a bit more breathing room between the big scenes. However, reading it on the page I had a slightly less negative view of the mother and I was slightly more annoyed at the the girl for how she treats her gay friend. Reading certain chunks of dialogue I could definitely see how the author influenced Morissey. I love Manchester/Salford and am amazed a ...more
Katharina Pauls
Mar 29, 2016 Katharina Pauls rated it really liked it
I liked everything about this play except its end ...
Conor Crockford
Oct 02, 2014 Conor Crockford rated it really liked it
A very dismal, funny, and emotional piece of work about lives of quiet desperation-in short, a play that Morrissey would lovingly steal from (there is a strong argument to make that the Smiths are the greatest working class band). The play is defiantly working class, but its characters are witty and funny, even as they're drawn from some pretty clear archetypes. They contain huge reserves of loneliness and love, and no one to give it to. One of those works that Moz fans like myself turn to to un ...more
Angie Rhodes
Jul 14, 2015 Angie Rhodes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
I remember reading this play at high school and watching the film, staring Dora Bryan and Rita Tushingham.
Set in Salford, it tells the story of Jo, a young girl, her romance with a black sailor(which in the late fifties, early sixties,was frowned upon) her wayward mother and her alcoholic husband,
It is, in some way a comedy, though it does relay a serious element, that of the mother and daughter dynamics, especially when it's the daughter who seems to be one to act more like an adult,, Brillian
...more
Caroline Kelly
Sep 14, 2016 Caroline Kelly rated it did not like it
a trashy play about trashy, selfish people
Ana Belén
Feb 18, 2016 Ana Belén rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3'5
Darin
Aug 09, 2011 Darin rated it really liked it
Continuing my recent Smiths/Moz fixation, I learned about this play. It was truly a delight to read, if only for getting chills as I read lines which clearly inspired Morrissey (in some cases enough to take the lines fully intact). Clearly this book was at the least the background story/inspiration to "This Night Has Opened My Eyes". The play itself? Like I can possibly judge it on it's own merits, lol.
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A British playwright, best known for her debut work, A Taste of Honey.
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