October 2015

Entertaining Angels
by Richard Everett




Directed by
Jan Ford


An entertaining evening that was also moving to experience
Mary Redman



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Entertaining Angels is set in a classic English vicarage garden complete with a grass-banked stream and willows.  As a clergy wife, Grace has spent a lifetime on her best behaviour.  Now, following the death of her husband Bardolph, she is enjoying the new-found freedom to do and say exactly as she pleases.  But the return of her eccentric missionary sister Ruth, together with some disturbing revelations, forces Grace to confront the truth of her marriage. 



We are in the vicarage garden where Grace is having a telephone conversation with a friend.



Grace's daughter Jo arrives followed by her sister Ruth, recently returned from Uganda.  Ruth has been mowing the lawn, much to the annoyance of Grace.



Jo has found a pile of condolence letters sent to Grace.  They have not been replied to and Jo tells her mother there is no excuse for this.



Sarah, the new vicar, arrives to look over the house and engages Grace in conversation.  Grace assumes she is the vicar's wife and is surprised to find otherwise.



The ghost of Bardolph, who can only be seen by Grace, appears in the greenhouse pottering about.  They talk about the novelty of female vicars and Grace asks him what she is to do now that he is gone.



Jo and Sarah go to a steam flowing through the garden that was much loved by her father.  It was here that he was found dead from heart failure.



Bardolph reappears and tells Grace that he is now on a journey.  Where he is, he is allowed to do his Tommy Cooper impressions.



Grace and Ruth are by the stream.  Ruth confesses that she had a child thirty years ago called Jeremy and that the father was Bardolph.  Grace cannot believe it.



Grace asks Bardolph what he was thinking, with her own sister.  He says he was not thinking at all, that she was quite determined and that he was trying to be helpful.



Bardolph suggests they talk about it now but Grace tells him he has left it too late.  She asks Jo why he did not tell her as all her memories are gone.



Two days later, Ruth is trying to make amends and give Grace some straight answers.  Grace ignores her.



Sarah arrives as Jo is trying to smooth things over.  Grace calls for a taxi to take Ruth to the airport.  Grace herself decides to go to Bognor where she went on honeymoon.



Jo tells Sarah about the situation with her father and Ruth and how badly things have gone in her own marriage.  Sarah confesses that she had had an affair that resulted in a termination.



Down at the stream, Grace and Bardolph reminisce about their early life together.



Ruth has postponed her return to Uganda.  Jo tries to get her and her mother to talk but instead precipitates another arguement.  Sarah returns looking for her mislaid car keys.  Grace involves Sarah in the situation in order to test her pastoral skills.



Sarah suspects that Grace is hiding something and eventually gets her to admit that she had lost a baby boy at about the same time as Jeremy was born.



In a flashback Grace and Bardolph are by the stream.  Grace tells him that he is retreating into his faith which has become a prison for him.  He is no longer the man she married.  He tells her it is not possible to free himself from the prison he has chosen.



Bardolph has a heart attack and falls into the stream.  Grace explains that she went into the stream and held his head.  Instead of holding it up she held it down as she wanted to set him free.



Ruth explains that she persuaded Bardolph that they would not tell Grace as she was afraid of her disapproval and anger.  The sisters embrace and weep together



A year has passed.  Sarah is now vicar and expecting her first child.  Grace has called in as she was passing and asks to sit for a while on her own.



Bardolph appears for the last time as he has to go now.  Grace wishes that he had told her everthing.  He explains that he was afraid he would lose her and asks forgiveness.  Bardolph goes off towards the stream.



Ruth and Jo enter looking for Grace.  They are all off to the airport to meet Jeremy.  Grace decides to look round the greenhouse for one last time and there she finds Bardolph's old gardening hat that has miraculously appeared.

Cast

GRACE:
RUTH:
BARDOLPH:
JO:
SARAH:

Diana Bradley
Jan Ford
Michael Gray
Laura Bradley
Carol Parradine