Elaine is a motherly figure and a close friend to Charles. A haidresser, a psychic and a caring giver, she attracts fragile and needy people and is always happy to help: be that her sister who has ME, her neighbour with the broken leg and of course, Charles. We never learn how the two met and how they became friends, but they are close, and she is the engine that powers the group on the day of the funeral.
Approaching her sixties, she is lively, always busy, a little bossy and outspoken but also charming, gentle and caring. I picture her a bit like a young Judy Dench or Zoe Wannamaker with spiky multi-coloured dyed hair, wearing a kind of alternative yet stylish velvet black dress.
How does she cope with Charles’s erratic ‘turns’and ‘episodes’, his highs and lows and his needs? Why is she so selfless, where does she get her energy from and can she really read the tarot?
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When Charles and Tony’s mother dies the estranged brothers must struggle to pick up the pieces, particularly so given that one of them is mentally challenged and the other bitter about his place within the family. The conflict is drawn out over materialistic issues, but there are other underlying problems which go to the heart of what it means to be part of a family which, in one way or another. has cast one aside. Prejudice, misconceptions and the human condition in all forms feature in this contemporary drama revolving around a group of people who attend the subsequent funeral at the British South Coast. Meet flamboyant gardener Charles, loner Simon, selfless psychic Elaine, narcissistic body-builder Edgar, Martha and her version of unconditional love and many others as they try to deal with the event and its aftermath.