25 October 2022
Cumbernauld Musical Theatre Society's (CMTS) production of The Secret Garden is the second exceptional amateur theatre production I have seen this year (the other being The Musical Theatre Company's, The Sound of Music). What is going on out there!? It's incredible.
The Secret Garden is a little known musical in the UK, although it did win Tony awards for its Broadway debut in 1991. Based on the much loved novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the story is complex and it is epic, and Cumbernauld Musical Theatre Society under the direction of Fraser Morrison, do a wonderful job of displaying why the musical adaptation deserves its time in the spotlight.
First of all, there is a full 16 piece orchestra on stage. A live orchestra! For an amateur production! And they were great. The score is gorgeous and there are a number of brilliant musical theatre songs throughout. 'I heard someone crying' and 'A Bit of Earth' and 'Wick' were standouts for me.
It's not just the songs, the performances made those numbers special and the book is strong as well. The Secret Garden is a perfectly balanced musical theatre piece and I understand why it won those Tonys!
The local cast here are a delight. I was stunned by their voices and skills. From the first note sung by Lily (Katherine Mitchell) I knew this wasn't any ordinary amateur show.
Bobby Mitchell as Archibald Craven was very much the Jean Valjean of this piece. In fact he reminded me so much of Alfie Boe and John Owen Jones I have to assume Bobby has played Valjean in the past (or is destined to!) A brilliant leading man.
Young Mary Lennox, the 10 year old protagonist in the book, is played here by April Macaulay and she is nothing short of astonishing! I was gobsmacked. April is hardly off the stage, she has so many lines to remember and yet she never once faltered. Her acting was first class. I am in awe of her talent. I am so proud of her and yet I don't know her. I can only imagine her family are in bits.
The same goes for Matteo Campbell who played young 'cripple' Colin Craven. His acting, accents and comic timing would be the envy of any seasoned actor. Outstanding.
A beautiful production.
[Review first posted on Instagram 26 October 2022]
🌟 REVIEW: The Secret Garden (Cumbernauld Musical Theatre Society, CMTS) Cumbernauld Theatre at Lanternhouse 🌟
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