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A Taste of Honey: A Play
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A Taste of Honey: A Play

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  1,340 Ratings  ·  65 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 ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published January 11th 1994 by Grove Press (first published 1956)
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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
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.
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
Klein beetje afleiding van studeren. Voornamelijk gelezen vanwege zgn 'historische waarde/reputatie'.
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.
Oct 19, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this play and the relationship between mother and daughter in the play is close to our modern day poverty, not much has changed in the UK. Glad to have read it.
Oct 03, 2016 E7boehm rated it liked it
Bit dated was more for shock value now sort of less shocking and not as well put together as people thought in the past
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
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
Caroline Kelly
Sep 14, 2016 Caroline Kelly rated it did not like it
a trashy play about trashy, selfish people
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
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
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 ...more
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 ...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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...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
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.
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.
Daniel Grieve
Feb 24, 2014 Daniel Grieve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: studied
Having never read any modern drama before I was unsure what to expect but I must say I greatly enjoyed this play and would like to see a staged version of it. Delaney creates some interesting characters and I look forward to studying them in depth in the seminar on Realist drama. I would definitely read more of Delaney, in particular A Dance with a Stranger. Overall I would definitely recommend!
Bruce Woodcock
Oct 30, 2012 Bruce Woodcock rated it it was amazing

Re-read for an MA class this week & it's as vivid & lively as ever. Great film too, but it doesn't get the agit-prop elements - jazz band on stage, characters dancing - which show this isn't just kitchen sink realism. Sheffield Crucible theatre are doing a revival now - will report after seeing it at weekend
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.
Gary Lee
Mar 17, 2008 Gary Lee rated it liked it
Shelves: brit-lit, drama
A decent play dealing with British class structures of the mid-20th Century.
Better known as Morrissey's source of inspiration for parts of "Reel Around the Fountain."

'I dreamt about you last night
And I fell out of bed twice.'
Angela Jones-Cuéllar
pooled ink Reviews:

I'm very impressed with the depth of this play considering it was written by an 18 year old. However It simply was not my cup of tea.

Read my full review here:
Oct 15, 2012 Isobel rated it it was ok
Shelves: bought-2nd-hand
it was fine, and it was good (2 stars seems harsh but i just think if i gave Tess 3 stars i cant give this more) but i dont think plays are for me. i need description and stuff. i think i'd like to watch the film. "i dreamt about you last night. fell out of bed twice."
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.
Nov 18, 2007 Eric rated it really liked it
This is a play. Fans of the Smiths will recognize Shelagh Delaney as the "cover star" of "Louder than Bombs."

At any rate this play is an interesting look into the British working class fo the mid-twentith century. Well written and quite interesting.
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A British playwright, best known for her debut work, A Taste of Honey.
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