The potato's role in world history is rarely acknowledged. Actress Jane
Galloway is helping to put this right with her solo show at the Edinburgh
She dramatises the colourful history of the spud; she also hands round dishes for
the audience to try, including a purple potato cake from Peru, a
spicy tomato casserole from Spain, and a "potage parmentier" from France.
Acting and cooking are Jane's two passions.
She has written sketches for Emma Thompson, acted from time to time,
and once reached the semi-finals of "Masterchef". She has also run a
small catering company. This year she brought her two careers together
by writing "Potato".
The show starts with a Birmingham housewife on a voyage to Peru, where
she finds potatoes, not men, sweep her off her feet. She follows the potato to Europe in 1580
with Walter Raleigh, whose attempt to introduce the potato to Britain
ended in disaster when the royal chef threw away the tubers, boiled the leaves, and
poisoned the court. Other key moments in the potato's history -
Parmentier feeding the French army, Marie Antoinette using the flowers
in her hair; the European / Irish potato famine of the 1840s; the
invention of the crisp ...
Jane observes that the potato is not given much respect in Britain by
the supermarkets. "Where are all the marvellous varieties? Supermarkets
stock only a few and they store them for so long that they taste old".
POTATO is showing at the Edinburgh Theosophical Society, 28 Gt.
King St., Edinburgh, Aug 6 - 26, 2006. Tickets - 0131 226 0000.
This summarises an article in the
Daily Telegraph in July 2006.
Nigel Deacon / Diversity website
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