Bothered and Bewildered

Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  5w, 3m

This comedy-drama about one woman's struggle with Alzheimer's follows Irene and her daughters, Louise and Beth, as the girls lose their mum in spirit but not in body.

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    5w, 3m
  • Duration
    90 minutes
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Adult, Senior, Teen (Age 14 - 18)



As her family struggle to come to terms with her Alzheimer's, Irene blurs reality with her passion for romantic literature. She spends hours discussing how best to write her ‘memory book’ with her imaginary friend and favourite author Barbara Cartland (the deceased, world-famous romantic novelist), disclosing long-kept family secrets that she would never divulge to her daughters. This tragicomedy is about memory, loss, secrets and – above all – love.

For more insight on the play's development and premiere, see the open Facebook page for Bothered and Bewildered or visit www.gailyoungplaywright.com.


Bothered and Bewildered was first performed in October 2014 at the Forum Studio Theatre in Chester by Tip Top Productions. The show was directed by Gail Young, and the sellout premiere was staged as a fundraising production to help raise monies to support the wellbeing of patients with dementia at both the Countess of Chester and Ellesmere Port Hospitals.

Cast Attributes

IRENE – Elderly widow and mother of Beth & Louise, early 70s.
BETH – Eldest daughter of Irene, 45-55.
LOUISE – Youngest daughter of Irene, 45-55.
NHS CONSULTANT – Male or female, 30-40.
COMMUNITY POLICEMAN – Male, 30-40. (Can be played by the actor playing NHS CONSULTANT)
JIM – 20.
– Early 20s. (Must be played by the actor playing JIM)
YOUNG IRENE – Beth’s daughter, 16.
SHELLEY – Irene’s granddaughter, 19. (Must be played by the actor playing YOUNG IRENE)

The play is set in 2001.

YOUNG IRENE and SHELLEY must be played by the same young actress.

JIM and JAMES must be played by the same young actor.

The role of the NHS CONSULTANT can be played as either a man or a woman, but preferably by a man.

The COMMUNITY POLICEMAN must be played by a man.

  • Time Period Contemporary, New Millennium/21st Century
  • Setting A simple set suggesting various locations. 2001, WWII and 1960s.
  • Features Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes, Period Costumes
  • Additional Features Not Applicable
  • Duration 90 minutes


“Hugely affecting... a judicious and rewarding piece of work – serious without ever becoming melodramatic and humorous without being flippant.” – All Edinburgh Theatre

“A story that is laden with poignancy and pain as a person loses the veneer of respectability to expose the raw truth of what lies beneath... a brave look at a difficult and topical subject.” – Edinburgh Guide

“Dear Gail, I am assured that you will be depicting my mother in a sympathetic way from reading through your script. She was renowned for her sense of humour and you really bring that out... Good luck with the play, I am sure it will be a great success, and make sure that whoever plays my Mum is dressed in pink!” – Ian McCorquodale, Barbara Cartland’s son

“I must confess on reading the synopsis of the play I was uncertain how many laughs would be possible out of such an emotionally draining subject. I was dead wrong!! In my humble opinion the play was excellent, and I and the capacity audience thoroughly enjoyed it. The play was so very touching, sad, and funny and held my attention throughout with very well drawn characters, and the writing was so good that I felt for the daughters every step of the way and cared very much what happened to them all. I loved the introduction of Barbara Cartland as an imaginary friend.” – Christine Hunter Hughes, NODA NW Regional Councillor, October 2014


  • About the play youtube thumbnail

    About the play

Licensing & Materials

  • Minimum Fee: £70 per performance plus VAT when applicable.


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Gail Young

Gail Young has directed and acted with community theatre groups for many years in the Chester and Wirral area of NW England. She turned her hand to writing in 2005 and took her first full-length play, Cheshire Cats, to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2006 with Guilden Sutton Players. ...

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