BBC Radio 4, 29 May 2012
Kate (Rebecca Callard) and Mark (Graeme Hawley) are overjoyed once they
have managed to buy their first house after several years of marriage. It's been a hard struggle; they have managed to save
very little, and have had to resort to slightly underhand methods to obtain a mortgage. However things look set fair for their
Once they move into their house, complications arise, as the previous owner Penny
(Frances Barber) seems particularly reluctant to move out. She has lived there for many years, looking after her family; and
now goes out very little, spending most of her time endlessly cooking and cleaning. Kate and Mark sympathize with her
at first, but once they discover her true intentions their attitude changes, as they order her to leave.
But things are not quite as straightforward as they seem. Penny appears to know something
about the underhand ways in which the young couple obtained their mortgage, and threatens to expose them if they throw
her out. Consequently Kate and Mark hatch a scheme to kill Penny off.
Kellie Smith's play explores the trauma experienced by many people forced to leave
their homes when they basically don't want to. Although Penny comes across as manipulative, taking advantage of the
young couple's good natures to further her own ends, we nonetheless understand her plight. This is in no small way due
to Frances Barber's vocally nuanced performance; she comes across as simultaneously motherly, dominant yet plaintive. Callard's
Kate tries to reason with Penny. but proves no match for the older woman.
Charlotte Riches' production is well worth a listen: the denouement in particular
proves refreshingly unexpected.