Reviewed by Paula Citron
The Secret Garden
David Mirvish/Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
Music by Lucy Simon
Book and lyrics by Marsha Norman
Directed by Anna Linstrum
Featuring Ellie Coldicutt, Gene Goodman, Jos Slovick, Caspar Phillipson and Graham Bickley
Royal Alexandra Theatre
Feb. 8 to Mar. 20, 2011
In 1991, composer Lucy Simon and writer Marsha Norman debuted their ambitious musical based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1911 The Secret Garden. For the new Edinburgh production, director Anna Linstrum has focused on the very dark side of the tale. Francis O’Connor has aided the director’s gloomy vision by creating a revolving Gothic set and ghostly costumes.
The story won’t work unless you have three talented young people. I don’t know why or how Britain keeps on producing such talented children, but Ellie Coldicutt as Mary, Gene Goodman as Colin, and Jos Slovick as Dickon carry the show very well on their young shoulders.
Also very strong is Graham Bickley as Dr. Neville Craven. Caspar Phillipson as Archibald Craven just looks too unkempt and his voice shows strain. The rest of the adult cast is, as expected, good British character actors.
In short, this musical still has a lot of performance life.
The Secret Garden continues at the Royal Alexandra Theatre until Mar. 20.