The Festival Theatre Edinburgh touring company is presenting the musical adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1911 novel, The Secret Garden at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre.
Mary Lennox, the daughter of rich British colonials is orphaned while living in India when a cholera epidemic sweeps through the city. She is then sent to live with a distant uncle in the moors of England. Uncle Archibald is still reeling from the decade-past death of his beloved wife and distraught over his convalescent son. Mary is quickly overcome by the gloomy shadow cast over the house and turns to the servants for companionship. She soon discovers how beautiful friendships can be while unearthing a secret garden that belonged to her aunt.
The staging, costumes and theatrics of this musical are much more understated than those of Billy Elliot but by no means does this performance fall short. The performers command of the stage and the strong vocals make for an engaging 2 ½ hours.
After seeing this play, my love for The Secret Garden was renewed. I returned home to find my twenty year old copy with my name scrawled in oversized loops in the front cover and my favourite passages falling open like a natural part. I remember receiving this as a gift for my tenth birthday (along with Bridge to Terabithia) and reading it under my covers at until my eyes grew weary. There are few books that I always go back to – almost like comfort food: Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, The Great Gatsby, The Picture of Dorian Gray, A Farewell to Arms, The Stone Angel and The Secret Garden. These special novels line my “secret bookshelf” and provide me with as much affection as the garden provided Mary.
The Secret Garden will not be in Toronto for long. The company will depart following their March 19th finale.
Oh, I just love the memory of our cherished books. One of the joys of having children is getting to re-discover these old friends and find new ones. I think you have enticed me to pick this book up once again and lose myself in the magic.
It is magical. I think that the perfect word to describe The Secret Garden is, enchanting. Enjoy re-discovering the beauty of it!
I had a friend talk abot the 1995 movie and then I read the book. It is enchanting.
I just replied to the previous commenter that “enchanting” is the perfect word to describe this book. The play was just as magical.