This production is a Stage Must-See

Allotment

Assembly Inverleith Allotments

Theatre Reviewed by Thom Dibdin

Whatever the weather, there is sunny disposition to Nutshell Theatre's site-specific production set on an allotment. The performance starts with a mug of tea and a scone while Dora (Pauline Goldsmith) and Maddy (Nicola Jo Cully) chat engagingly with their audience.

Then it is off to the plot itself. There, with the smell of mint and lavender permeating the air – or the sound of rain drumming on your kagool, they tell something of their life together, of how this was a place of their own order after their parents' death.

Slowly, however, this intimate chat turns into a performance. There is no discernible jump, just the realisation that the years are passing and girls are growing up. Seasons repeat, different varieties of potato are grown and, with the passing years their relationship become ingrained and their roles fixed.

There is a brilliant intensity to the performances – Goldsmith's older, slightly knowing bossiness, Cully's wonder and search for beauty. Jules Horne's script is tight and revealing, showing just enough through suggestion and allusion to make the underlying truths behind the pretty tale absolutely obvious.

The gardening references are both illustrative and correct. If this were a lettuce, it would be a little gem – sweat to taste and crunchy to the bite.

Published online
Review by
Thom Dibdin
Produced by
Ed Littlewood for Nutshell in co-production with Assembly
Author
Jules Horne
Director
Kate Nelson
Running time
50 minutes
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