'Out of the bleakness and horror, a love story emerged; not a romantic or sexual but one of friendship. I suppose it's a sort of fable about two people who've never experienced love and don't even recognise it when they do, but their lives are irredeemably changed by it . . . I overheard the director, Jessica Dromgoole, describe it as a collection of ugly things brought together and transformed into something beautiful. I felt I couldn't have been paid a higher compliment.' Daniels Plays: 2, 'Introduction', 1994.
Recently released on probation, Shaz is troubled by her past and the crime she committed that sent her away. The probation services have teamed her up with Esme, a woman in her seventies whom, despite being her aunt, Shaz has never met before. Esme is a religious Christian who insists on certain standards, many of them which Shaz is not capable of meeting.
Still, an unlikely friendship blossoms between the two, building to a solid relationship which proves the redemption that Shaz has needed for so long.
The Madness of Esme and Shaz was first presented by the English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in association with the Royal National Theatre Studio on 10 February, 1994.