At seventy-eight, Bennett hasn't lost the wicked edge to his comedy writing. People as a play probably isn't up there with some of his finest work, but heck, if you're Alan Bennett that's quite a tall order! In my opinion if Bennett rewrote the marketing blurb on a box of cornflakes it would make it worth reading.
Basically, Dorothy is penniless, burdened with a crumbling house and needs to find a solution. To sell would incur vast sums of money in death duties and her sister June favours donating the property to the National Trust. There appear to be other options in the guise of a shady consortium who would like to dismantle the house brick by brick and relocate it to some warmer clime, like Dorset or Hampshire. Dorothy is tempted by the promise of a renovated lodge and an en-suite bathroom with hot water on tap. A third option appears in the guise of an ex-lover ( possibly a little contrived but still funny) who now directs porn movies and who might use the house regularly as a film location.
Bennett makes us laugh but he wants us to examine our values. How we now see everything as wearing a price tag. As a society over the past forty years we have allowed countless libraries to close and watched a decline in the general standard of education. He takes a swipe at the National Trust and parodies the way it packages 'England'; its intention here being to preserve the house and provide its visitors with an interactive, multi-media experience. Dorothy points out in one of her speeches that the house itself doesn't represent 'England' or 'Englishness' and never did; she basically just wants to live in a little comfort without hordes of people tramping through her home.
People is definitely worth watching. Check out the NT Live website and catch one of the many encore performances showing around the UK during April, and also see timings for performances broadcast at different times right around the world. Get to see a terrific new comedy, performed by a cast of highly accomplished actors under the able direction of Nicholas Hytner - for the price of a cinema ticket!