Posted: 29 Apr 2014
Gala Theatre, Durham
26 April 2014
The Gala Theatre was packed to the rafters for this talk by
television’s face of gardening, Monty Don.
Strolling onto stage looking like he’d just left his
Longmeadow garden at his home in Herefordshire that serves as the backdrop to
his Gardeners’ World programmes, Monty instantly put everyone at ease.
With a voice that could soothe teething babies he addresses
a capacity audience as if he’s talking just to you as an individual. He’s a
skilled communicator. I was hooked and I’m not even a gardener (shamefully, as
the grandson of a champion leek grower).
Football is more my game, so Monty producing two 45-minute
halves seemed only natural. Before the interval he provided insight into how
his Longmeadow base had developed from scratch over a quarter of a century,
revealing some of his own personal hardships along the way.
With only a set of slides as visual aids, Monty used the
second half to give us a whirlwind tour of his travels during the making of Around
the World in 80 Gardens TV series, explaining how for the first programme he
travelled into the depths of the Amazon only to discover when he opened his
case that it was full of saris. He’d collected the wrong suitcase from the
carousel at the international airport in Brazil. Goodness knows what the owner
of the saris felt when she opened her case!
What the audience thought at the Gala was that it was a
thoroughly enjoyable evening. Just as on the telly there were no airs or graces
– he wasn’t selling anything and there was no merchandising table peddling
books, programmes or even personalised trowels. Instead it was simply a talk
that was entirely down to earth.