3Bugs Theatre Company return to the Fringe with a new adaptation of this classic children’s story. Using music and projections, we are invited into the world of Mary, who is sent from her home in India to live with an elderly uncle in England, much to her outrage and disappointment. However, when she discovers the secret garden, everything changes.
The seven-strong ensemble of multi-talented performers is put to good use, with the set and backdrop to the scenes transforming around the protagonists with magical precision and skill. The opening scene sees the chorus morph around Mary as she travels to her new home, encountering a crowded train and the bustling excitement of the station when she finally arrives. In this scene and throughout the production, clever use of the ensemble serves to fashion the world of the pay in an enchanting and exciting way.
The show played out with delightful energy by the cast, scores of colourful characters entertaining the audience, with kids and adults alike enthralled as the story unfolds. The wildlife in the garden is brought to life with the use of puppets for the animals that gather around and play with Mary as she discovers more about the secret and intriguing place. The skilled puppeteers animate the birds and creatures of the garden with rehearsed precision; the interaction between them and the characters has a fairytale resonance creating a charming spectacle.
With such a well-known story, there is a danger that an adaptation such as this would lose some of the magic of the original. However in this production the wonder of Mary’s botanical discovery and the friends she makes as a result are in turn touching and exciting.