The Secret Garden, Birmingham Rep.

The Secret Garden

Sorry to spoil it for everyone but the secret is, it’s shit. How anyone commissioned such a dire, damp cacophony of dross is beyond me, frankly I’m flummoxed as to how some of the cast made it in to drama school let alone out of it, especially James Gillan, who would’ve made even the most experienced ‘ham’ explode with shame. By the end of it I’d have quite happily of thrown myself into the orchestra pit just to escape yet another howling match in search of a tune.

Whenever the narrative started to sag they would leap into song with no regard for melody or lyric. I couldn’t work out if Tim Sutton ( the composer ) was desperately trying to make the dyslexic verse flow or if Garry Lyons (Co-lyricist with Tim ) had induced a tonal seizure in the composer having washed his words through Japanese translating software. It was awful.

The set was cleverly constructed and made full use of the revolving stage, yet managed to convey all the charm of Slade Prison’s exercise yard, even when we were in the ‘secret garden.’The only redeeming feature was that we hadn’t paid full price for the tickets, had we done so I would not have been responsible for the horrific violence that would have ensued. Saying that out kids enjoyed it, even though they were fighting to stay awake.

However the final word has to go to the gentleman sat in front of us who shot to his feet as the brief applause was slowly dying and announced “That was marvellous, I really enjoyed it.” I’d have just have thought he was insane, tone deaf or both if I hadn’t caught a glimpse of the horror stretched across his face as he desperately hurried his bemused children into their coats. He was terrified they’d realise how dire it was, luckily my kids were already asleep.

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