The Gardener

Edinburgh Guide / Irene Brown

Welcome to AGAS – The Amateur Gardening Appreciation Society. The chairs are set in a circle and care assistant Eilidh (Nicola Roy) welcomes all participants with a cheery word, clearly knowing them well.

Today, retired and widowed amateur gardener, Frank (Crawford Logan) is delivering a talk to some of his fellow residents at the rebranded ‘retiral residence’ Pinegrove View, though Frank thinks Alzheimer’s Acres would be a better name.

With a twinkling positivity, and a pair of red braces peeking from under an otherwise conventional façade, hinting at a wee bit of panache, Frank delivers his talk, interspersed with his life story.

Ages with Mick Jagger, who is a vehicle for some gentle humour, he shows mild annoyance at the assumption by younger generations that all old people have lived through the war rather than having been children of the “swinging sixties”.

The Stones track The Last Time makes for a poignant soundtrack on the CD player before a resident complains.

He speaks of his father, a fellow gardener and a man of few words, in fact only four – yes; no; mibbe and sorry, and of the magic of gardening for those with the power to dream.

The Gardener is inspired by Karel Capek’s novella The Gardener’s Year, and the text was developed in part from verbatim conversations, developed through workshops, with original material by Ed Robson.

This lovely wee piece of theatre, where seasons are a metaphor for ageing, is about believing in tomorrow at any age.

It is delivered with a direct and touching intimacy by Logan, and Roy’s busy and believable interruptions – that includes yer actual tea and biscuits served in the guid cheenie – come with great delivery of her comic chatty lines.

To retain authenticity, there is sadly no time allowance for applause but there is a surprise in store on the way out that adds to the play’s delight. This witty and affecting show is an all-round pleasure to experience.