Belfast Telegraph

A magical version of a classic kids' tale

By Grania McFadden

The Secret Garden, Braid Arts Centre, Ballymena, Tomorrow, 3pm

In the 100 years since it was first published, Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel The Secret Garden has transported readers from their everyday surroundings to a world of secrets and mysteries.

Now Galway-based theatre company Moonfish has adapted the story about an orphan who discovers a hidden garden, into a magical show for children aged seven and over.

It made its debut at Galway Theatre Festival last autumn, and enjoyed further acclaim when it was revived for a run at Nun’s Island Theatre in Galway at the start of this year.

The story centres around a poor little rich girl called Mary Lennox, who is suddenly orphaned and sent from India to England to live with her reclusive uncle in a great, empty mansion on the Moors.

Her new home is cold and inhospitable — a far cry from the warmth and colour of life in India.

Mary’s uncle travels abroad a lot, leaving her in the care of his housekeeper, and her chambermaid Martha, who has tales of a secret walled garden.

Mary finds the key to the secret garden, which soon begins to flourish under her care, and the green fingers of Dickon, Martha’s brother.

When she learns of the existence of a sickly cousin, Colin, Mary vows to help him get better, with the help of her garden.

Moonfish’s careful adaptation of the novel recreates this world of the unexpected, where young audiences can learn about compassion, independence, and how to prune roses in a production that manages both to remain faithful to the original book and still speak to children today. See www.thebraid.com for details.

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