Last Friday evening I attended A SECRET GARDEN at Town and Country Players in Buckingham. My special date for the evening was my granddaughter Emily. Emily is 7 years old. In spite of her very young age she is quite the experienced theater connoisseur. She has been attending live performances since she was two. I was a little concerned that A SECRET GARDEN may be a little over her head. The material dealing with death and grief may be hard for some very young children to follow but Emily really did understand and loved the show. My daughter said that it was all she talked about the following day. When we were on the way home she informed me that she “likes plays much more than movies”. I love that. Too many children only think of entertainment as animation. Don’t get me wrong, I love animation but there is nothing as wonderful as a well done play or musical to capture the heart or the imagination. A SECRET GARDEN does both. Emily loved the story. She had read a more condensed version of the book that was geared to younger children. She told me she thought the “play” was very good. She has experienced the death of great-grandparents and was obviously touched at the way the spirits watched out for the loved ones they had left behind. That provoked a conversation that was consoling to both of us. There is nothing like talking to a child to help get your head straight. I digress. I have a way of doing that. Under the circumstances it’s hard not to. I may be an adult, a grandmother for that matter, but losing both my parents recently made this show especially touching.
Back to the review. . . the level of talent in A SECRET GARDEN is amazing. Keith Kirkner who plays Archibald and Kelly Slota who plays Lily have two of the best voices I have heard in any community or regional theater production. Mary is played by Emily Gallagher and Dickon by Trevor Frantz. I am absolutely sure that at some point in the future these two talented young people will be stars. I don’t know if it will be Broadway, Pop Music, or some other venue but they are destined for great things. Frankly the entire cast did a great job. My hat is off to the director, Keith Soester. I think this was a very difficult show to stage. Town and Country is a unique environment with the action taking place in the center of the room with the audience to either side. It presents both challenge and opportunity from a directing standpoint. Keith met the challenges and took advantage of the opportunity to really have the actors connect with the audience. My congratulations to all for a wonderful production.
So, if you have not put A SECRET GARDEN on your list of things to do with your family . . . do it. I would not suggest it for very young children but whole heartedly recommend it for children over 6 as well as teenagers and adults. Only two more weekends to enjoy this one. Please find the link below and get your tickets now.