A Woodland Plot, Rural Redemption at Sturminster Newton

THERE are urban dwellers (and maybe country folk) who are really scared of woods. A legendary aunt sat locked in a car in a state of high terror when the rest of the family went for a walk in the New Forest. We have laughed about it many times.

But, having just seen Craig White’s new play A Woodland Plot, perhaps she was onto something.

Trying to avoid spoilers for this tense and very modern drama, it’s about the brash Sam trying to buy a bit of woodland next to where a university has its research campus, ostensibly to find peace and a place for a private dip.

Her forest neighbour is a nervy young man who relies
on alcohol to hide the demons of his childhood memories. Throw in a “solicitor” unlikely to convince anyone, and an academic.

That’s the dramatis personae for a nine-scene romp through the unexpected, set over three years and performed in 45 minutes.

There are clues, and certainly the language, peppered with swearing of the type that even in 2021 you don’t expect in community halls in North Dorset, should have alerted those expecting a rurally redemptive story of the therapeutic properties of arbores.

A Woodland Plot keeps its audience on the edge of their seats in this tale of the unexpected. Rachael Alexander’s Sam could do with a bit more light and shade  to truly hide her truth. She’s joined by Toby Greenfield’s Art, Matt Rawson’s Malc and Maddie Henschel’s enigmatic Fleur in unfolding this clever, demanding play.

The stylish and effective set was build by The Mens Shed, neighbours of the performance venue Stour Connect.  Whatever the effects of COVID, drama is certainly not dead in Sturminster.



The play continues until Saturday 2nd October, with a Saturday matinee, but don’t take the children.

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