The Secret garden

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The Secret garden

Postby Barry » Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:39 pm

West Yorkshire playhouse - 23rd January 2010

I have great fondness for this very twisted, dark, strange and eventually joyful Victorian story, and maybe twenty years ago a magnificent broadway musical was made from the music, with utterly moving songs (and rather ripe accents). This was a new musical with less than inspiring and soaring songs, but a set, that just as I walked in the theatre, got e excited, and it was so right. A huge curved and richly textured and weathered brick wall with wooden parquet floor and mound out of which grew a spectacularly tall round brick tower. This opened and various windows flew in, and the whole thing revolved bring on bit of furniture, doors or revealing beds of soil. It was used so effectively, and was imposing and theatrical. Lit with a multitude of cold bleak lights, and warm rosy glows, it had be smiling all through the first act, and i couldn't wait to see how they transformed into the garden, but oh dearl, how dull and unimaginative was that. The garden was designed with no relation to the rest of the show, totally different desing conventions, and maybe that was different, but mine can't have been the only heart to have sunk when hundreds of mathematically precise and straight tubes descended from the flies. It suddenly felt like a naff 1970's Ring Cycle. Simply ghastly and disappointing with no hint of anything organic after the rigid structure of the rest of the show. No sense of wonder, how ever much coloured light they splashed across it. I thought, ah they are playing with us, and at the end a huge lush garden will be revealed and the dark drapes flown up to reveal the sun they kept talkign about. No. After such a brilliant first half this let me down and I left the theatre feeling cheated. They also stinted on the emotional impact of the three big moments...the actual reveal of the garden, the moment Colin walks, and the reunion with Archie. Surely they couldn't have run out of money or inspiration as the first half was so brilliant, with glorious performances, but then it petered out a bit, and the end just happened. Ah, an evening of two halves then. The first amazing, and the second a bit less so. But 10 out of 10 for the design of everything other than the garden.
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