Dates and Venue March 19 - 21 & 25 - 28, 2015 at 8pm (matinees on Mar 22 & 28 at 2pm) | BlueShore Financial Centre for the Performing Arts, Capilano U.
Director Gillian Barber Music Director Steven Greenfield Choreographer Keri Minty Conductor Kevin Micharl Cripps
Reviewer Melanie Ewan
Growing up, The
Secret Garden was one of my favourite books. I used to pour over
the pages, imagining what it would be like to be Mary Lennox—so
alone and wild of heart—and to discover something so amazing as
a secret key to a secret world. So when I saw that Exit 22 was putting
on the musical adaptation of the book, I jumped at the chance to go
One of the more unique aspects of this adaptation is the use of ‘dreamers’ (i.e. ghosts) that follow Mary and her Uncle Archibald (Frankie Cottrell) around. These characters, dressed in white, are often seen standing behind windows and frames. This adds a complexity to the story, forcing the viewer to take note of who is dead and who is not—something made difficult by the tendency of the living to wear light colours!
As the story unfolds, Mary—a dour young lady--begins to explore life as a carefree little girl. She takes up skipping and makes friends with the lively character of Dickon (Darren Adams), who teaches her to speak to a robin in "Show me the Key." Meanwhile, Archibald continues to battle with the memory of his wife, Lily (Sherry Freeman)—an emotional addition to the story that isn’t as dominant in the literary version.
At the end of the first act, we are treated to a charming battle between Mary and the little boy Colin, portrayed by the talented Elyse Maloway. A storm begins to brew, brought to life by the chaotic dance and song of the dreamers, and culminating in Mary’s discovery of the hidden garden door.
The second act starts
on a lighter note, highlighted by one of my favourite songs of the play,
"Wick." The piece--amicably sung by Adams and Yott--speaks
to the ability of plants to revive and thrive, and draws clear parallels
to the main characters in the story. Of note, Yott does an exquisite
job of expressing the evolution of Mary’s character. With a lovely
voice and infectious presence, she is an absolute delight to watch.
The set is thoughtfully
laid out, allowing for ease of transition between manor rooms and garden.
With stairs connecting either side of the stage, the design also allows
for interesting, layered dynamics to unfold. While there were some issues
with sound, this did clear up, and as always I was thoroughly impressed
by the orchestral performance.
© 2015 Melanie Ewan