Little Theatre Company

Live theatre in the heart of Burton upon Trent

The Secret Garden

by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon - Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Performed: November 2011

The Secret Garden by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon - Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Review by Kevin Redfern - Derby Evening Telegraph

At its most powerful, theatre can weave magic. It can transport us from our humdrum lives into a place where dreams are made. THE SECRET GARDEN is musical theatre at its most magical and magnificent.

Mary Lennox, a spoilt young girl living in India in the 1900s, is suddenly orphaned and sent to live with her uncle Archibald in Misslethwaite Manor. Archibald is an abrupt and distant man, hollowed out by grief, and Mary is largely left to her own devices. Her only friends are housemaid Martha and groundskeeper Dickon, who see through Mary’s rudeness, encouraging her to spend more time outdoors.

One day, Mary discovers a hidden, locked garden, and hears tales of spirits that haunt it, and the manor itself. Then one night she hears crying – and the house uncovers yet more secrets…

For family entertainment, THE SECRET GARDEN has it all. Benevolent ghosts, adventure, emotion, and a garden whose magic can seemingly bring life to those who most need it. Past and present collide in such enchanting style, we are spellbound by the authenticity of the accomplished performances, the soaring sincerity of the vocals, and most of all, the magic of the garden. Lighting, multimedia projection, mist, sound design… all mesmerising, making the set as much a character as any of the uniformly exceptional cast, all of whom deserve the highest praise for their stunning performances. Not one line is wasted; not one song less than thrilling.

THE SECRET GARDEN is the pinnacle of what can be achieved in musical theatre, and I cannot recommend it enough. Absolutely unmissable.

For me, the most moving moment was the one you all left the audience with at the end of Act 1 - Mary staring at the Secret Garden as she unlocks the door, revealing a shaft of brilliant light, and dry ice weaving its way along the wall, dropping silently like a cat. Spielberg on his best day wishes he could manipulate light like that . It's not often I'm moved to weep tears of joy during a production... but it happened more than once during your production. Exhilarating stuff, and I can't wait for your next production.

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