Worcestershire residents are in for a theatrical treat when the national touring production of Old Herbaceous arrives at Spetchley Park Gardens on the 21st and 22nd of June. Described as “Downton Abbey with gardening tips”, Old Herbaceous is the humorous love story of a single-minded yet gentle man with a passion for plants and is a charming one man play which has entranced audiences around the country over the last two years. Highly acclaimed performances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Royal Horticultural Society Arts Festival have meant that a recording for BBC Radio 4 is now planned for 2018.
As Old Herbaceous, renowned actor Giles Shenton truly lives the part of the legendary Head Gardener, Herbert Pinnegar, inviting you to feel included in a private chat from a bygone, comforting age. He first read the script in his twenties but has had to wait thirty years until being old enough to perform the part. “There is no greater challenge for an actor” he says “than a full length one-man play. There is nowhere to hide and no-one to help. If you fail to engage the audience right from the start, you’ve failed completely.” He needn’t have worried, reviews of his “superb” performances have described him as “completely captivating” and “entrancing”, with him holding “the audience’s attentions and imaginations throughout”. He succeeds in keeping his audience engrossed, amused and emotionally engaged from start to finish and the play will leave you with a feeling that, perhaps, all is right with the world.
Written by Alfred Shaughnessy, script editor and chief writer on Upstairs, Downstairs, Old Herbaceous is an acute and sometimes hilarious observation of relationships between the classes in a simpler age and is sprinkled with witticisms and epithets: ”You can’t be angry for long…not in a garden”, ”A garden is like life itself…full of good and evil”. The evening blossoms into tender humour as it unexpectedly twists into a quiet love story of sorts, much in the traditionally understated English style of the early 20th century. A delightful tale, beautifully told, it is a treat to watch and not just for garden lovers.
Coming to Spetchley Park Gardens on 21st & 22nd June 2018 at 7.30pm.
Adults: £16.00. Friends of SPG: £14.50. Under 16’s: £12.00.
Produced by Kick In The Head, directed by Simon Downing with Giles Shenton as Herbert Pinnegar
Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016, Royal Horticultural Society Arts Festival 2016, National Gardening Week 2018, Festival of Gardens North Wales 2018, Evesham Festival of Words 2018