Review by Lucy Chipperfield
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Written by the award-winning play-writer Gillian Pilowman, ‘The Allotment’ revolves around the intertwined lives of four extremely eccentric female gardeners; Marcie (played by June Fitzgerald), Norah (played by Elaine Laight), Lorna (played by Tracy Ferriello) and Bell (played by Sarah Harrison).
Initial opinions of ‘The Allotment’ would have essentially deemed it to be a celebration and glorification of four free-spirited women. No doubt, their quirky characteristics and eccentric personalities added an extra dimension to the plain allotment setting. However, what was also impressive about Pilowman’s production was her ability to weave serious and sensitive issues into the narrative along with humour, compassion and charm.
It is not until Daisy, the allotment inspector, (played by Emma Feeney) arrives and begins to scrutinise the lives of these eccentric gardeners, are we able to slowly unravel the secrets of each woman’s past and understand the truth behind their assistance on the allotment. Gradually we begin to realise that these women have much more complex similarities than just their idiosyncratic personalities.
Pilowman’s production of ‘The Allotment’ was an incredibly well structured and carefully considered play. From what initially appeared to be a rather light-hearted narrative, transformed into a solemn account of five women’s struggle to face reality and accept their criminal pasts.