A wry look at history moving with the times

Brigit Forsyth and Sian Phillips in People by Alan Bennett.
Brigit Forsyth and Sian Phillips in People by Alan Bennett.

A crumbling stately home and two ladies withering away inside it are the subject of Alan Bennett’s critically acclaimed play People.

The 2012 production tells the story of an aristocratic former model and her companion who spend their lives sitting in front of a three bar gas fire in a corner of a huge stately home in South Yorkshire.

The ageing model, Dorothy Stacpoole, wants to live out her days in the home she’s always known – but her overbearing sister, June, has other ideas. The play pokes gentle fun at the institution of the National Trust, but also recognises its part in preserving history for future generations to share.

Sian Phillips was striking as Dorothy, and Brigit Forsyth was a scene stealer who got most of the laughs as her companion, Iris.

It was a funny. heartwarming and bittersweet look at letting go and moving with the times.