First performed at the National Theatre in October 2012, this touching and funny play is set in a crumbling stately home where the impoverished Lady Dorothy Stacpoole is trying to avoid its sale.
Lady Dorothy, a peeress and ex-model, lives in this mouldy old pile with her companion, Iris, and is mortified by the suggestion that it is opened to the public in order to stave off selling; so desperate is she, that she even flirts with an offer from a valuer, working on behalf of a very shady consortium, to relocate the whole house to the West Country.
Meanwhile, Dorothy’s archdeacon sister, June, is attempting to do a deal with the National Trust, which would fill it with horrendous digitally enhanced interactive ‘visitor experiences’.
BUT a third possibility magically arises when a film company turns up, seeking to use the site as a location for a movie – but in classic Bennett style it’s a porn movie – a cue for the unbridled hilarity for which Bennett is renowned.
Described by critics as ‘provocative fun’, Alan Bennett’s People is packed with his signature humour and beautifully observed characters.
The result is a biting commentary on the real cost, both financial and personal, of preserving the past.