The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden from Not Cricket Productions is a faithful and on-the-whole, effective, adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic tale. Rude and precocious Mary Lennox is taken to live with her uncle at Misselthwaite Manor. Upon her arrival, she finds many strange hidden attributes to the property, including a walled-off garden which all are forbidden to enter. Naturally, Mary finds the key and unlocks a charming story of secrets and rumours.

The Secret Garden is a solid offering of afternoon entertainment for children and adults alike.

Golfo Migos as Mary is a joy to watch. She captures the essence of a headstrong, slightly sulky 10 year old girl with ease. Joel Bates plays a great version of Colin, successfully presenting a troubled and lonely young boy with each line, even when obscured by his bedcovers for the majority of his introduction. Emily Thane is an imposing figure as Mrs Medlock and it is a pity she does not feature more in this adaptation.

The intimate setting of the play in a small bedroom, with the audience sat on cushions, is an excellent way to present the story to children. It’s a little less forgiving on those with older backs and long legs however. Whilst a problem with the size of the space isn’t the responsibility of the company, the cushions are – and the resulting fidgeting from child and adult alike does distract from proceedings a bit. A few more chairs would not have gone amiss and would have aided those worried about blocking the action for any children behind them.

The language of the play fits quite well with the time setting of the original book, meaning it can sound quite complex at times, but the children did not seem to mind. Even if they perhaps did not understand every precise word of what was being said, they certainly seemed to know what was going on. The use of the robin puppet was also a pleasant addition to the show; I wonder if it could have maybe interacted with the children directly to provide an additional element of entertainment.

The Secret Garden is a solid offering of afternoon entertainment for children and adults alike, if you don’t mind sitting on a small cushion for an hour.

Reviews by James Beagon

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

After the death of her parents in India, Mary Lennox is sent to live with her uncle at Misselthwaite Manor, a house that holds many secrets, not least a mysterious locked garden. A faithful adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's famous story about the transformative powers of friendship and nature; incorporating live music and puppetry. 'Not Cricket Productions have created a family treat' (TheEdinburghReporter.co.uk). 'Not Cricket Productions's very delightful children's play interweaves traditional storytelling, engaging dialogue and puppetry, with catchy songs ... to most enchanting effect' (Stage).

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