Friday, 14 August 2015

BSBI Scottish Officer checks out 'The Rhum Plants'

'Rhum Plants' mascot on Arthur's Seat, where Jim
leads BSBI training meetings most years.
Image: courtesy of Mangonel Theatre
These pages reported last month on a new play, headed for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which was based on an article in BSBI journal Watsonia.

The play, called 'The Rhum Plants', was written by Phil Baarda who combines his playwriting activities with a day job at Scottish Natural Heritage, where he is a woodland ecologist.

Now the play has opened and is playing to near-full houses, including some big names in Scottish botany! BSBI Scottish Officer Jim McIntosh and Jonny Hughes, CEO of Scottish Wildlife Trust, have both been spotted in the audience and here is Jim's review:


'Rhum Plants' mascot by the roof garden on top
of the National Museum of Scotland
Image courtesy of Mangonel Theatre 
"Botany rarely features at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. So it was great to see Phil Baarda's "The Rhum Plants". This is the story of Heslop-Harrison on Rum and the subsequent investigation of his botanical activities by John Raven. 

"The small cast, clad bizarrely only in long-johns and with men suitably moustached, as befits botanists of the era, give a very amusing and light hearted account. 

"The actors playing Raven and Wilmott are by far the strongest while Heslop-Harrison was less so. But perhaps that was because I saw the play just after its opening night. 

"If you are a keen Fringe goer then I'd definitely recommend catching this play (even if you don't sport a 'tache!). Free drams on arrival and moustaches on departure!!"

Jim & BSBI Membership Secretary Gwynn Ellis
at Kew for launch of England Red List
Image: L. Marsh
Many thanks to Jim for these comments! He has been spending so much time in the field and also at his computer recently, whether co-ordinating recording activity on Scottish field meetings (as on the recent BSBI Recording Week on Shetland), or supporting Scottish County Recorders as they work towards Atlas 2020. 

Jim is working incredibly hard to help deliver the Scottish element of BSBI's strategy on 'Recording the British & Irish Flora 2010-2020'. 

So it's great to see him taking an evening off to go to the theatre! Mind you, it was a play about botany so a bit of a busman's holiday for our Scottish Officer ;-)

Of course there are different sides to every story, and the Raven vs Heslop-Harrison story is no exception. Check out this article for a new slant on this fascinating botanical story.