Judy has made her home a haven, and it looks like the fifties. It looks like the fifties in the frilly apron she flounces in while baking magnificent cakes, in the vintage decor of pink bathroom tiles, stylish lamps and patterned curtains. It sounds like the fifties in the old records that she jives to, and the way she and her husband Johnny talk: her solicitous enquiries about his day at the real estate company, his perfunctory enquiries about her day scrubbing behind things. It even tastes like the fifties, with Judy’s endless gin martinis and devilled eggs.

Anthony Taufa and Andrea Demetriades. Photograph © Prudence Upton

But it’s not the fifties, and never was, this delusional and romanticised simulacrum that Judy (Andrea Demetriades) has anxiously materialised and Johnny (Anthony Taufa) has acquiesced to. Judy’s mother Sylvia (Tracy Mann), who brought her daughter up in a feminist commune and herself lived through what was a drab, cold and oppressive decade, despairs at the “cartoon” her daughter has chosen to live in. Johnny, while proclaiming he is “appallingly happy” in Taufa’s rummy voice,...

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now or log in to continue reading.