The Secret Garden – In Concert was performed at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford and continues its UK tour until 2 November.
Although it is the children that steal the show, Ashleigh Gray, who takes on the role of Martha, delivers some incredible and highly emotional solos. Directed by Matthew Gould, this simple, but musically impressive production of The Secret Garden worked well in the small space and managed to capture the entire audience. Musical Theatre Review Mailing ListSign up to stay informed of Musical Theatre Review news. The original Broadway production understandably won three Tony Awards in 1991 (including one for Norman’s book).

Francisco Rodriguez-Weil’s simple set throws the music to the forefront and, rather than the scenery, it is the beautiful compositions that create the magical and mysterious atmosphere of the house and garden. She holds her own and harmonises well with the powerful voice and Yorkshire charm of Dickon, played by Jordan Lee-Davis, a recent finalist in the second series of the BBC talent show The Voice. Alexander Evans, playing Archibald Craven, really embodies the continuing grieving of a widower.
Despite being a children’s novel, I have no doubt that the music and magic of the production could enchant anyone. The musicians are only slightly hidden by an imaginative backdrop and this draws your ear to the quality of the brilliant arrangements and players.

Elliot Jones as Colin Craven is equally impressive, executing a convincing transition from a ‘selfish’ illness to a new found love of life.

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