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Shelagh Delaney obituary

22 November 2011 2:42 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Feisty playwright best known for her ground-breaking debut, A Taste of Honey

Shelagh Delaney was 18 when she wrote A Taste of Honey, one of the defining plays of the 1950s working-class and feminist cultural movements. The play's group of dysfunctional characters, utterly alien to the prevailing middle-class "anyone for tennis?" school of theatre, each explored their chances of attaining a glimpse of happiness. The central character, a young girl named Jo, lives in a decrepit flat in Salford with her mother, who is apt to wander off in pursuit of men with money. Jo becomes pregnant by a black sailor and is cared for by Geoffrey, a young gay friend, until her mother ousts him in what could be a burst of suppressed maternal love or a display of jealous control-freakery.

Delaney, who has died of cancer aged 71, had to endure harsh criticism for her attack on the orthodoxies of the period. »

- Dennis Barker

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1 item from 2011


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