The Museum Players presented a splendid evening of tree related stories, poetry and music. John Hill welcomed everyone declaring he ‘loves trees best,’ in the words of the Felix Dennis poem, before Chris de Vere Hunt and Bill Ball delighted the audience with a charming rendition of Linden Lea. Nigel Greenwood then joined Bill in recounting local stories of trees interspersed with excerpts from a diverse selection of poems, both amusing and poignant, from Christina Rossetti to Robert Frost and Joyce Kilmer to A.E. Housman, read by Christine Greenwood and the rest of the cast. Stephanie Blake provided an enchanting interlude of Bach on her recorder before the gracious evening was temporarily interrupted by the arrival of Neville and Bert, 'gardeners on the estate', exuberantly played by Mark Palmer and Jane Hill. They brought their own poetic renditions to add to the fun, along with Neville's ferrets!
Chris de Vere Hunt and Bill Ball sang a delightful medley of songs, including The Ash Grove, I Talk to the Trees and Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree with enthusiastic participation by the audience.
Further stories followed, together with readings from Cider with Rosie, by Laurie Lee, Dylan Thomas and local tales of scrumping was an account of the ancient tradition of wassailing recently revived in Porlock along with a fine rendition of the Apple Tree Wassail song by the Porlock Wassail Queen (Chris de Vere Hunt).
The evening’s entertainment was brought to a close as everyone joined in enthusiastically with Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree. To the delight of some, and the trepidation of others, Neville, (Mark Palmer), actually had brought in his ferrets, Rambo and Conan. The museums' latest Players not only joined the cast for the final bow but then proved a big hit with the public, mingling with the throng as the audience and cast exchanged reminiscences over coffee and chocolates.
The stories, information and poetry were collected, compiled and written by Lita Strampp and John Thorne. The evening gave a foretaste of the Talking to Trees Exhibition which will open in June featuring the work of environmental artist and photographer Gordon Field.
Dovery Manor Museum, Doverhay, Porlock, Somerset, TA24 8QB. United Kingdom
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