Shelagh Delaney and My Auntie Olive

delaneyMy Auntie Olive lived close to Bulle Hill Park. The mere mention of the name, Shelagh Delaney, induced a condition of mild apoplexy. What followed, a diatribe, contrasting the unspeakable Shelagh Delaney, citizen of Salford, with the all embracing genteel virtues of, citizen of Salford, Robert. Powell.

In no way did I wish to disparage the achievements of the aforesaid Mr. Powell, but my own opinion was diametrically opposite to that expressed by my good Aunt. For me, Shelagh Delaney, her story, personal and dramatic, was an inspiration. This was a view I am sure was shared by many of my generation. The horrified reaction of the great and the good of Salford was perhaps to be expected. The reaction of significant numbers of the metropolitan literary establishment, predictable, Miss Delaney became subjected to misogynistic rants and disbelief that a young women from The North, could, unaided, create a significant work of drama..

'A Taste of Honey' was set in certain time and place. But to hold the simplistic view the it was a criticism of the life and condition of the populace of Salford was misguided. Would you consider Graham Greene's 'Brighton Rock' an exposé of the everyday life of this seaside town? Anton Chekhov 'Cherry Orchard' the underside of Russian horticulture? Of course not. 'A Taste of Honey' is essentially a play that explores the dynamics of human relationships, a universal theme, and the reason why 'A Taste of Honey' continues to be performed throughout the world.