Sunday, 19 July 2015

Article in Watsonia prompts play at Edinburgh Fringe!

'The Rhum Plants': the cast
Image courtesy of P. Baarda. 
Playwright Phil Baarda has been in touch to tell us about his new play, a comedy called 'The Rhum Plants', which is going to this year’s Edinburgh Fringe festival and then touring. It is about arctic-alpines and is based on a paper in Watsonia, the predecessor to New Journal of Botany! Over to Phil:

"In the 1940s, the botanical world was rocked by the discovery of many rare plants on the island of Rum by Professor John Heslop-Harrison. The trouble was, this ambitious working class academic had been making far too many similar discoveries over the previous decade to be credible. 

"The botanical elite despatched John Raven – classical scholar and botanist of note – to Rum to investigate. They suspected the Prof had been planting out rare plants and passing them off as genuine discoveries.

"These historical facts are the starting point of a new comedy, 'The Rhum Plants', written by Inverness-based Phil Baarda, which is going to this year’s Edinburgh Fringe festival, and also on tour in September around the Highlands – including to the island of Rum itself, and to the Ardtornish estate - home of Hugh Raven, the son of the play’s hero John. 

'The Rhum Plants': John Raven
Image courtesy of P. Baarda
"The play has been heavily inspired by John Raven’s own report of the investigation – which was considered to be so controversial that it wasn’t released until after the death of not only Professor Heslop-Harrison, but following the death of his son. 

"The report was eventually published in 2004 and can be found in Preston, C. D., Watsonia, 25: 17-44 

"The play features four excellent up-and-coming Inverness actors and is being directed by Dave Smith (co-writer of many top notch plays including 'Whisky Kisses' - on last summer at the Pitlochry Festival theatre - 'Who Bares Wins', and 'Accidental Death of an Accordionist', to name only a few). 

'The Rhum Plants' is a tale about deception, greed, class, ambition and arrogance with some gratuitous lust and cross-dressing thrown in – featuring false woolly knitted beards and long-john onesies. 

"The Rhum Plants is on at Sweet Venues on the Grassmarket 6th-30th August at 15:30 each day (except Wed 19th and 26th August).  For more information please click here". 

You can follow the play’s journey and tour dates/venues through Facebook ( or via Twitter @MangonelTheatre  #TheRhumPlants

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