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Secret Garden
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The Secret Garden Review - Northern NODA News

The Secret Garden: Durham Gala Theatre

by Ian Wells

This enchanting children’s classic novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett has been transformed into the this wonderful stage musical by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon which received its Northern Area Premiere in this production by the Durham Musical Theatre Company.

The story of young Mary Lennox (beautifully played by Rebecca Innes in the performance I attended orphaned in India, and sent to live in the cold and menacing atmosphere of her uncle’s house in Yorkshire, was convincingly told, and the characters (some of whom are ghosts) all clearly drawn.

Anthony Smith was the seemingly aloof uncle who moved the audience when he finally showed his love for his sickly son. Clark Adamson was his scheming brother, and their duet Lily’s Eyes’ was one of the good highlights of the show.

Lily, or rather her ghost, was played by elegant newcomer Erin Wright, who has a voice like an angel. Delia McNally (Martha, the Maid) and Olly Burton (Head Gardener) expertly provided the lighter moments, ably assisted by Sam Lupton, a talented young man to watch in the future, as Dickon.

The principals all sang well, including Sue Robinson and Laurence Scott, as Mary’s dead parents, and June Lavin as their friend, as did the chorus, under the direction of George Hetherington.

Scenery was basic, but the atmospheric lighting, designed by Keith Webster, did much to enhance the show. This was a superb production, well worthy of the Company, the Gala Theatre, and the occasion of it being the Northern premiere of the show.

Published: February 2005 in the Northern NODA News


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