What’s it all about?
The Secret Garden is the European premiere of a new version of the much-loved childen’s book, specially adapted for just 4 adult actors and 20 children. It tells the story of spoiled, neglected, Mary Lennox who, following the death of her parents, is sent to Yorkshire to live with her withdrawn Uncle Archibald in Misselthwaite Manor. She soon uncovers the secrets of the manor, including the secret garden, and is set on a course that will change the lives of the manor’s residents forever.
Who’s in it?
300 youngsters have been cast in the show, forming 21 teams of child actors who will perform in rotation throughout the season. These are surely the stars of the future, and it’s a privilege to watch them honing their craft in the West End.
What should I look out for?
Quite simply, all the talent on stage. This is the best possible showcase and advocate for youth theatre that there is. Every performance was natural and professional, with notable mention going to the sparky chemistry between Colin and Mary, and the comic turn from the Martha the maid.
The score, written by Grammy winner Lucy Simon. This is a stripped back production, and with no elaborate set or costumes to distract, each song shines in its own right, serving to move the story swiftly through the seasons, or give the audience time to pause and reflect.
In a nutshell?
The Secret Garden is a charming tale about the redemptive power of love, friendship, and a little faith.
What’s being said on Twitter?
— Grace Taylor (@GraceTaylor_MT) August 3, 2016
Bravo to all at @SecretGardenLDN! An wealth of enormously talented young people on a West End stage bringing a gorgeous show back to London.
— Oli Gordon (@oli_gordon) August 2, 2016
Will I like it?
The combination of a short running time (just 75 minutes!) and a much loved title makes this a perfect show for families. Children won’t be able to resist being drawn into the magic of the story, and the experience will only be enhanced by seeing it played out by their peers. Anyone who values the importance of the arts to children won’t fail to be uplifted by what the Secret Garden team have achieved. As director Rupert Hands says, “Giving young people the opportunity to work on great shows in great spaces is vital for the future of theatre.”
You can book tickets from the official website.