Pitlochry has the perfect show for all the family this summer with a new stage adaptation of The Secret Garden written by its own artistic director, Elizabeth Newman. It is staged in the most apt setting, the outdoor amphitheatre which nestles in the theatre’s Explorers Garden.
Perfect for all the family.. delights at every turn
Ben Occhipinti directs the adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic 1911 novel which delights at every turn as the story of the power of nature to regenerate the human spirit unfolds amidst the great outdoors. It is a show which is a salve to the soul for grown ups in these troubled times and even better, the children in the audience clearly loved it.
The Secret Garden tells of orphan Mary Lennox (Blythe Jandoo) brought from India to live at her uncle’s great house on t’Yorkshire moors and her discovery of the garden and the wonderful things therein. Jandoo is a delight as the child. Arriving as a neglected spoilt brat she makes a journey of discovery. Going outside she finds the secret garden, helped by a little robin and her new friends in the household.
She also finds her cousin Colin hidden away in the house, lonely and neglected because everyone, including himself, has decided he is an invalid with no future.
Mary is having none of it and gets him back on his feet. Jandoo handles the transition from brat to caring cousin with ease. She makes you want to cheer as she orders Colin (and everyone else) outside, finding herself an important role in the family and happiness.
The cast of eight work beautifully together with Matthew Churcher narrating and playing the robin. Yes, there are gorgeous handpuppets of the various creatures to be found in the garden who pop in and out of the seating to say hello to the clearly delighted wee ones. Shona White is on fine form as the dragon of a housekeeper Medlock, contrasting with kind hearted maid Martha (Trudy Ward) and brother Dickon, decent and nature-loving (Robbie Scott). The ensemble works tightly, quickly and simply, changing scenes in Nick Trueman’s design while Natalie Fern’s costumes charm with their Edwardian feel, using lovely Liberty fabrics to enhance and define the era.