YABC’s The Secret Garden

YABC’s production of The Secret Garden has one goal. This is a musical for young people performed by young people as part of an ongoing series to showcase young performers and welcome new young audiences into the theatre. And it certainly delivers on this promise with some impressive performances by future stars of the Australian industry.

Alexandra Denovan & David Duketis

Alexandra Denovan & David Duketis

If you are going to bring young audiences into the theatre, then you need to create a show which suits them. In the case of this YABC production, the original Broadway version of The Secret Garden has been slightly shortened and adapted for a younger audience while keeping all the iconic moments and famous songs including the cult classic ‘Lily’s Eyes’ which opens the second act.

There is an enormous amount of talent amongst the entire cast. Alexandra Denovan plays the lead role of Mary and readily embodies the journey from spoilt brat to the heart and soul which brings Archibald Craven back from Paris. Some of the finest moments come from the older cast members including scene stealing comedy moments from the gardener Ben, played by Adrian Agisilaou, and Emily Hansford’s eleven o’clock number ‘Hold On’. As well as very impressive character acting by David Duketis who takes on the role of Dickon and guides Mary through her journey at the Manor and manages to convince the audience to believe in this little girl’s power to bring a family back together.

All the leading cast members have created wonderful performances, but the real moments of magic come when they are joined by the younger ensemble. Under the direction of Musical Director Lucy O’Brien, this cast are able to show off their musical prowess mastering beautiful harmonies and making the most of the musical texture for which these classic songs are renowned.

Using very little scenery, a series of cleverly-devised projections and interesting prop choreography to create bedrooms, studies, libraries and gardens, this production of The Secret Garden certainly delivers on its promise providing a show that will impress new, young audiences while the simple production design allows its talented, young performers the opportunity to shine. A big congratulations to all involved in this accessible and impressive new production of the classic The Secret Garden.

This is the perfect show to welcome young audiences into the theatre and is playing in repertory with another YABC production of Alice in Wonderland until the end of the school holidays.

The Secret Garden is only playing until 30 January at MTC’s Lawler Theatre. To book tickets to see this talented cast and find out more about this production, visit www.secretgardenmusical.com.