Allotment (4 stars)

This article is from 2011


Sweetly observed play taking place on a real allotment with free cup of tea

Whatever happens to Dora and Maddy, the chalk-and-chips sisters at the heart of Jules Horne’s sweetly observed play, you know they will be outlived by their surroundings. The soil beneath their feet, the weeds that have persisted for millions of years and the insects that buzz across the working allotment where the two-hander is performed will all persist long after they’ve gone.

The setting means that even though Nicola Jo Cully and Pauline Goldsmith act out the whole life cycle of the squabbling siblings, you get a sense of life cycles gone by and those still to come. As the actors muddy their hands on real earth and savour the aroma of a real mint plant, the site-specific location adds a real poignancy to Horne’s observational script. It is a poignancy enhanced by the actors’ witty and sympathetic understanding of the women’s love-hate relationship.

Directed with loving attention to detail by Kate Nelson – from the mug of tea we get on arrival to the props that emerge from the soil itself - Nutshell’s production is a grow-your-own treat.

Assembly Inverleith Allotments, 623 3030, until 28 Aug (not 22), times vary, £10.


Meet two green-fingered sisters among the plants for a cuppa, a homemade scone and a major dose of sibling rivalry as Edinburgh company Nutshell returns with its darkly funny Fringe First award winner. The show is performed on real allotments, whatever the weather, so come prepared!