The Secret Garden (4 stars)

Hopeful musical is a moving and witty production for modern audiences

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The Secret Garden

A musical about deep-rooted grief may seem an odd choice for a Christmas show, but somehow The Secret Garden manages to inject enough love and hope to rise above the misery. An imaginative set and some truly superb vocals also help turn Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel, published 100 years ago, into a moving and occasionally witty production for modern audiences.

Left an orphan when her parents die of cholera in British colonial India, Mary Lennox (played with remarkable assurance by 11-year-old Sophie Kavanagh) is shipped to the wilds of Yorkshire, and a mansion filled with secrets and memories. A love of nature, and a determined spirit, help Mary drag her new family out of a 10-year period of mourning and into the future.

At times, separating out what’s real from what’s imagined, who’s dead and who’s alive, may prove difficult for younger audience members, but even during moments of confusion, the soaring voices carry you through.

Edinburgh Festival Theatre, until Sat 8 Jan

The Secret Garden

  • 4 stars

Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic novel about a young orphan girl who discovers a hidden walled garden while staying with her uncle is brought to the stage for Christmas, with popular Scottish actress Siobhan Redmond leading the cast as housekeeper Mrs Medlock.

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