SAMUEL Taylor Coleridge didn't write his poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner about Somerset, but having watched Wassail Theatre's production of Reclaimed, I think what he wrote seems very apt for the floods which hit the county in 2013/14.

The lines I refer to are: "Water, water every where "And all the boards did shrink; "Water, water every where "Nor any drop to drink."

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner tells the tale of a mariner who killed an albatross even after it helped the ship out of the ice jam. The crew are appalled by what happened then think it was good luck when the ship is in warm weather but the spirits turn against the crew and the ship and the crew turn on the mariner.

He is then has to wear a dead albatross around his neck and is forced to tell his tale to people where ever he goes.

In Reclaimed 'the pantomime villain with an albatross around its neck' as it has to keep telling angry people why this or that is happening or why it has not happened, telling the tale over and over again, is the Environment Agency, in the play it is represented by one of its employees/volunteers, Naomi.

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She has to deal with the floods, floods of tears from the villagers and herself as the flood claims her car as the water rises. As one the villagers says: "Her car has gone full Das Boot".

The residents of Newton Fitzbarrow (fictional) go to the church hall on January 6, 2104, as a safe space.

It has been raining since Boxing Day.

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The floods have not reached people's homes but it is only a matter of time and there is nothing they can do to stop the water.

The main characters are Richard (Nick White), Charlie (Lizzie Stables), Naomi from the Environment Agency (Alys Metcalf), Colin (Josh Marriott) and Tyler (Jac Husebo).

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They are joined by aid/charity worker Nitin (Riz Meedin).

It is interesting to hold the play in village halls or church halls, and to tell the audience they are the residents of the village.

In All Saints Hall in Langport where I saw the play, it had a vaulted roof, which looked like an upside down boat, apt when you consider the play and the subject matter.

The drama unfolds in front of you and around you, with the actors coming in and out of the hall and some sitting in the audience.

This all helps to create the community spirit which would be seen if this was a real flood in a real village.

They even hand out blankets, tea and coffee to those in the hall. It all adds to the atmosphere.

The play goes through different ups and downs. Emotions rise and fall but the water outside keeps rising as does tension inside the hall with the Environment Agency being blamed for the floods as it did not dredge the rivers and there is tension between Nitin and Tyler.

Somerset County Gazette:

The play has the tension of 12 Anger Men as the mood switches from comedy to tragedy back to light heartedness and then fear as the water rises.

The blame game is in full swing, but whoever is to blame the rain is still falling and the water is still rising.

Those taking part in the play, if they have to leave the building come back wet and dirty as if they had been wading in the flood waters.

What the play does is shine a light on the effect of flooding and what it is happening to people in the village.

It shows how flooding makes them feel like refugees, they want to know why them?

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It also shows while the flooding in Newton Fitzbarrow effects everyone and it is a collective experience, it is still too personal as it happens to me, you, the individual and we have to deal with it as it invades our space, our home.

Get up close and personal with Reclaimed it will be a worth while experience.

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You can see Reclaimed on tour at:

- February 2: Chew Stoke Church Hall 8pm

- February 3: Burrowbridge Village Hall 7.30pm

- February 4: Wells Little Theatre, 7.30pm

- February 7: The Lord Nelson, Norton sub Hamdon 8pm

- February 9: Ashbrittle Village Hall 7.30pm

- February 10: The Brewhouse Theatre, Taunton 7.15pm

Further information can be found at