The Secret Garden was good in parts, but it felt a little undercooked. The play was billed as a ‘dark’ adaptation, but the backdrop of Lord Craven and his wife’s romance was just nice, and there was no profound insight into human relationships. Mary was well acted, capturing all her spoilt, confused orphan defiance, and there were some moments of brilliance. The best scenes were where Mary met Lord Craven – their interaction conveying a convincing awkwardness – and Mary’s rant at Colin. However, momentum was lost during the rather ponderous soliloquies by the narrator. The play was also let down by the set, which consisted of arches of trellis that were left on stage throughout, making it hard to differentiate between outdoors and indoors.
Marlborough Theatre, 14 May 2013