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Hoovering On The Edge

    by Hilary Spiers


Play Script: 'Hoovering On The Edge' by Hilary SpiersWhen seven British ladies decide to take an educational writing course in sunny Spain relationships develop and tales are told. The characters are diverse and all, bar Clare, are middle-aged. Their young tutor Gareth is out-numbered, out-manoeuvred and completely out-classed by his manipulative pupils.

In this character and twist-driven comedy full of surprises and poignancy, the seven women have fun and so do the audience, and although it is a kindred spirit to the popular ‘Calendar Girls’, it has its own sparkle and pathos. With sun, sand, sangria and storytelling, coupled with a hint of surreptitious sex, what could possibly go wrong?

There’s Rita, who likes to a ‘call a spade a spade’ and whose part demands both comedic and dramatic attention. Then there’s the rational Gwen, whose character has a sense of gently imbued sensitivity. Moira, is portrayed as a prim and proper ‘plain Jane’ with Honor as her flamboyant counterpoint. Sue is worldly-wise and always on the lookout for the next big thing in television, with her counterpoint being in Chris, who is subdued and introspective. Young attractive Clare is a young earth mother, deeply into yoga, meditation and art in its widest sense.

The only male character, Gareth, the relatively young tutor, has not been quite truthful about his qualifications, and has yet to understand that women are often quite unfathomable.

Their daily writing classes soon become secondary to the needs and wants and backgrounds and expectations of the women as their characters are drawn out and exposed. Moira is, at first, the butt of their jokes, being pernickety and prim, and apt to annoy, but it is she that manages to ‘pull’ a man first, much to the other’s annoyance. Now becoming more accepted into the group she strikes up an unlikely relationship with Rita, whose homespun Jewish ‘momma’ character is so unlike her own.

Sue suddenly realises that the group’s activities and exploits would make a good TV programme and starts to work out how to pitch it to her boss. On meeting up six months later when they get home, only six women turn up: Rita is noticeably absent and only Moira knows the reason why. The sadness of losing Rita is, though, offset when Sue reveals that she’s been given the green light to start planning her TV show – fame beckons!


(1m, 7f)

  • Gwen - magistrate, fair-minded
  • Honor - flamboyant, sexy
  • Rita - a Jewish ‘momma’, outspoken, noisy
  • Sue - in the media, pragmatic
  • Moira - prickly, hypochondriac
  • Chris - public sector worker, quiet
  • Clare - yoga teacher, fey
  • Gareth - tutor, over-eager, anxious

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