BBC Radio 4, 12 November 2012
Viola (Shannon Tarbet) has to cope with responsibilities far beyond her
tender age of fourteen. She takes care of her sick mother (Elaine Lordan), a thirty-nine-year old subject to violent
swings of mood; and her little sister Elly (Kate Angelou), who ends up being bullied for her scruffy appearance. Add
to that the responsibility of continuing her school-work, and trying to cope with the attentions of two boys Paolo (Tyger
Drew-Honey), and Jack (Alfie Browne-Sykes), and we can see why Viola's life is well nigh unbearable.
For the most part Viola manages to keep everything going at once, even though she
never tells anyone about her problems, but matters come to a head at the end of the play when she has to deal with her mother,
sister, and her geography coursework all at the same time. There is a sort of happy ending, but we still feel that nothing
has been really solved; she still has to act as the principal carer, in perpetual fear that social services will visit her
house and take both herself and Elly into care.
Structured in a series of short scenes, Katie Hims' play vividly captured the realities
of Viola's life; her desire to keep everything secret; yet at the same time her need to find out the truth about her mother's
and Elly's lives, so as to find ways of looking after them effectively.
Produced in association with Carers Lewisham, and recorded with a cast of professional
actors and the carers themselves, this was a vivid portrait of contemporary life on the margins, as well as being a celebration
of just how strong-willed people can be to try and sustain the family unit. The director was Jessica Dromgoole.