A BATTLE is waged between a slug and a gardener and an organic-versus-chemicals tango is danced in a one-of-a-kind show coming to the Spa Centre where the humble vegetable is the star.
Musical comedians Jo Stephenson and Dan Woods, who are both keen London-based allotment-holders, have put together a wheelbarrow-load of songs for their Can You Dig It? show - covering topics including compost, vegetable theft, annoying allotment neighbours and, of course, digging.
There are even musical renditions on a cucumber trumpet and a set of carrot panpipes.
But Jo, who alongside her performance career is also a freelance journalist, says the show will appeal to gardeners and non-gardeners alike.
She said: “We often find that it’s the non-gardening partners or friends of gardeners who are taken along to the show who are the ones who come up to us at the end to say how much they enjoyed it.
“There are no nerdy gardening in-jokes for people to worry about.”
So what was it about vegetables that inspired them to create an entire show based on them?
Jo said: “We get a lot out of having our allotments and eating the produce we grow.
“We are not evangelists who tell everyone they should grow their own vegetables, but we believe that it’s a cool thing to do, it’s fun and healthy and it’s a pleasure to get outdoors when so much of life is spent staring at a computer screen.”
She added: “Our allotments and the world of gardening have proved to be a very fertile ground for songwriting and comedy.
“It really wasn’t hard to come up with material. There are so many different things to write about.”
Included are a battle between the gardener’s worst enemy, the slug, and an allotment holder, a tango about an aspiring organic grower trying to avoid giving in to the temptations of using chemicals, a love ballad to Alan Titchmarsh and many numbers based on real experiences.
Jo said: “Once I found a note next to my allotment plot saying, ‘To whoever stole my giant marrow: I hope it does you no good’. So I wrote a song based on that and what happens to the marrow thief.
“We have another about an annoying person who comes to my allotment site and likes to give everyone a lot of advice and one dedicated to a friend of mine who hates vegetables so much that he picks lettuce out of sandwiches.”
And while the pair play a few tunes carefully crafted out of nature’s best, they always advocate the eating of the instruments afterwards.
Jo said: “There are a few vegetable orchestras around, but we were inspired by one we saw in Vienna who take it all incredibly seriously. At the end of the show they chop up their veg and feed the audience. It’s wonderful.”
Can You Dig It? is on at the Spa Centre in Leamington tomorrow (Friday) at 7.45pm. Tickets cost £12 or £11 if booked online.
Call 0845 218 3540 or visit www.royalspacentreandtownhall.co.uk
To find out more about the touring show, visit www.can-you-dig-it.co.uk
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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