by Shelagh Delaney
Written by Shelagh Delaney when she was 19, A Taste of Honey is one of the great defining and taboo-breaking plays of the 1950s.
When her mother, Helen, runs off with a car salesman, feisty teenager Jo takes up with a black sailor who promises to marry her before he heads for the seas, leaving her pregnant and alone. Art student Geoff moves in and assumes the role of surrogate parent until misguidedly, he sends for Helen and their unconventional setup unravels.
A Taste of Honey offers an explosive celebration of the vulnerabilities and strengths of the female spirit in a deprived world. Bursting with energy, this exhilarating and angry depiction of harsh, working-class life in post-war Salford is shot through with love and humour, and infused with jazz.
The play was first presented by Theatre Workshop at the Theatre Royal Stratford, London, on 27 May 1958. It was published by Methuen Drama in 1959, beginning their Modern Plays series.
Methuen Drama's iconic Modern Plays series began in 1959 with the publication of Shelagh Delaney's A Taste of Honey and has grown over six decades to now include more than 1000 plays by some of the best writers from around the world. This new special edition hardback of A Taste of Honey was published to celebrate 60 years of Methuen Drama's Modern Plays in 2019, chosen by a public vote and features a brand new foreword by Celia Brayfield.