The Secret Garden

Date 24th February 2022
Society Poulner Players
Venue Poulner Scout Hall, Ringwood
Type of Production Play
Director Sally Whyte
Written By Frances Hodgson Burnett


Author: Marie Coltman

Poulner Players first production back after lockdown was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This well-loved British classic has been gracing theatre stages and the television over the years. Poulner Players’ version had been adapted by Sally Whyte, who directed the piece with a good cast.

The Secret Garden started in India with bright, colourful costumes and short snippets of scenes which keep the story moving along. The stage crew changed from one scene to the other quickly. There was a clever use of the younger members taking a few lines each to portray Mary growing up.

Lucy Taylor takes on the role of Mary Lennox, who is forced to move from India when her parents die. Lucy does very well in the role and she is confident. Harriet Cairnes is Mrs Medlock who also plays a good part. While Mary learns how to live in her uncle's home in England she befriends Dickon Sowerby played by Bella Gago-Martin who has a great love of nature and growing plants, and her sister Martha Sowerby played by Erica Lakin. They find the Secret Garden that has been locked up since Mary's aunt had died and they bring it back to life. Teresa Miller as Colin, is strong as Mary's cousin who was hidden away in the house by his father, until Mary found him and they all start playing in the garden.

It's nice to see so many in the cast of different ages all enjoying themselves on stage, the facial expressions show they're having a good time. Most of the cast had to double and triple up into various parts and the scenes flowed well, with a good sense of pace, there are lots of small scenes which gets the story across.

I did like the pantomime feel at the end of Act 1 and the start of Act 2, Steven Reynolds turned in a very humorous and strong performance as the Robin.

Lighting and sound were very good. Well done to everyone involved.