by Anita Sullivan
Envy angry handbag


Clare is bored of her unchallenging job, her friends who treat her as a baby-sitting service and her boyfriend who spends every available weekend being a Roundhead. One day on the beach a beautiful, powerful woman asks Clare to look after her bag while she goes to a swim. Clare impulsively steals her bag... and goes on to steal her life. But who has stolen whom?

'Envy' was a Sweet Talk production, broadcast March 2007. It was produced by Karen Rose and directed by Anita Sullivan. Sound design by David Thomas. Starring Claire Rushbrook and Paul Ritter with Shaun Dooley, Carolyn Backhouse and Nadia Wadia.

Duration: 44 minutes.


[Clare is on a Devon beach. It has been a busy summer Sunday, getting colder now. Children’s voices, waves.]

CLARE -[Narration] Sea’s so bright it hurts. Not a cloud in the sky. But the sun don’t touch me. I’m a cold rock. A clock with broken beat.

[Midge & Paula come up from swimming.]

MIDGE -Ahoy there, land-lubber!

CLARE -Nice swim?

PAULA -Lovely!

MIDGE -Bloody freezing! Chuck us that towel.

PAULA -You should of come in.

MIDGE -Clare in a cozzie? Believe it when I see it!

CLARE -Everyone’s going…

PAULA -Had the best of the day.

[Midge and Paula pack up.]

CLARE -[Narration] ‘cept her.

MIDGE -Best make a move myself.

CLARE -[Narration] One woman alone…

MIDGE -The kids.

CLARE -[Narration] Against the tide…

PAULA -I thought Steve had ‘em this weekend?

CLARE -[Narration] …Arriving.

MIDGE -Yeah, right. Stuffed ‘em full of sugar…

CLARE -[Narration] Taking her spot.

MIDGE -…Got ‘em all tired and cranky.

CLARE -[Narration] Stripping down.

MIDGE -Time to off-load ‘em with the dirty socks.

CLARE -[Narration] No hesitation.

MIDGE -Boys, eh?

PAULA -Been nice, mind.

CLARE -[Narration] At home in her body.

PAULA -Just us. Relaxing.

CLARE -[Narration] Powerful.

MIDGE -Too relaxed, if you ask me. Clare! You with us?

CLARE -Look. Her. Green bikini. Staring out to sea. Don’t care who’s watching.

PAULA -Well, you wouldn’t, would you? If you looked like that?

MIDGE -Showing off, if you ask me. You coming, or what?

CLARE -No, Midge. Um… think I’ll get the last of the sun.

MIDGE -Huh. So we’ll be getting the bus, then? Well. Don't burn.

PAULA -See you and Matt at the pub quiz?

CLARE -If they’ve not shot him.

MIDGE -Grown men. Playing soldiers.

PAULA -Like a man in uniform though, eh?

[Midge and Paula laugh.]

PAULA -Laters, Clare.

CLARE -See you.


[Midge and Paula's voices fade as they walk away]

PAULA -Fancy a cornet?

CLARE -[Narration] If I looked like that…

MIDGE -[Fading out of earshot] Absa-bloody-lootly!

CLARE -[Narration] I wouldn’t care.I wish… She’s seen me! Green bikini woman. She’s coming over. Oh.



MARTINE -Would you watch my bag? Won’t be long. Just round the headland and back.

CLARE -Sure.

MARTINE -Thanks.

[Martine walks away]

CLARE -[Narration] Why me? I could be anyone. Could be a thief. She don’t know me. Does she? There’s lots of people like me. So many, people like her never notice. ‘cept when they need something.

[Distant splash as Martine dives in.]

CLARE -[Narration] She wants us to do it. Asked us to do it. Going to do it.


Radio Times Choice of the day: "A thought-provoking play... Will Clare decude to flush out the reminders of her previous life -the boyfriend, the substandard friends- or will her internal dialogue enable her to find joy where there was once only pain?" Ruth Margolis

Observer Choice of the Day: "A chilling tale about the dangers of consumerism." Stephanie Billen

Daily Mail Choice of the Day: "A bitter-sweet listen" (Charlotte James)

Independent Choice of the Day (Robert Moss)

Daily Telegraph Choice of the Day (Gillian Reynolds)



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