The Man Who Planted Trees was one of the most delightful shows I caught at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
So, it’s wonderful to see it come to Fife with two shows at Rothes Halls on Tuesday, October 15.
It’s a perfect piece of storytelling that, while aimed at younger audiences, will delight all ages – in fact the day we saw it at the Scottish Storytelling Centre down the Royal Mile the audience was pretty much comprised of grown-ups!
Puppeteers Richard Medrington and Rick Conte have been giving performances of this play for a number of years.
It’s an adaptation of Jean Giono’s enviromental classic published in 1953, which tells the inspiring story of a widowed shepherd, Elzéard Bouffier, who, acorn by acorn, plants what grows to be a huge forest.
He transforms a barren wasteland step by step, for the benefit of all, but his selfless work also brings great challenges.
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The Man Who Planted Trees touches on some big subjects – war and conflict, ecology – and how one man can truly make a difference – but, it remains the lightest and most engaging of shows thanks to the two peformers, and the largely improvised role of a puppet dog ... called Dog!
The canine gets all the best lines, particuarly the ones made up on the spot!
But, having performed it so many times, the duo can stray off script with ease, and still keep the thread of the play running.
They also engage with the audience throughout – in fact they’ll happily wander up the aisles to continue with their narrative.
The set is beautifully constructed, and the story which gently unfolds over an hour or so is told with great clarity and filled with laughter.
It’s a beautiful, must-see show ... no matter how old (or young) you are.
Ticket info at the box office or online at www.onfife.com