The Sunflower Plot, West Street Allotments Farnham

Everything's gone to pot
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The Independent Culture

Soon we learn that the dastardly plot conceived by Brian Logan's greasy, swaggering Cameron Couch is to redevelop the land as a shopping plaza and designer flats. And we are his potential investors. Think of The Gherkin then imagine more of a gleaming glass, multi-storey Spring Onion, he says. His right-hand babe, the actress Paschale Straiton, is hilarious, struggling to recline alluringly on his sports car in a pencil skirt, and lurching over the wing.

Hereafter, the cast morph into a bevy of hippyish locals, tilling the soil and trying to persuade us to join in their sing-along, anti-capitalist protest, with a squeezebox and recorders made of carrots. However, their communal spirit disintegrates as Straiton's romantically unfulfilled Rosie slips away from her foolish hubby, Dennis Herdman's Ike, to have a shed-juddering fling with Logan's gangly Tom.

Unfortunately, this show begins to wilt with much wandering back and forth, disappointingly feeble ballads, and with too much eagerly grinning whimsy. Really, The Sunflower Plot feels like a piece of children's theatre, barely dealing intellectually or emotionally with its themes of ownership and angry, wounded love. Indeed, at points, you might wonder if Cartoon de Salvo are in the wrong kind of nursery.

Director Alex Murdoch and her actors need to have an artistic growing spurt if they are to become - as predicted - the next Complicite.

Still, for a summer evening, there's plenty of sweet fun to be had here, and the final fireworks are a delight as Ike bicycles into the blue yonder - with Heath-Robinsonian wings made of fencing and chicken feathers, and a sparkler in his tail.

Hawton Road Allotments, Newark (0115 941 9419), 11 to 20 August

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