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.