THE SECRET GARDEN at the Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by Matthew Murphy/MurphyMade

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way.

The children’s rhyme “Mary, Mary, quite contrary, How does your garden grow?” is used several times to taunt young Mary. Unfortunately, her new garden grows quite contrary in this version masterminded by choreographer/director Warren Carlyle. His vision has taken most of the heart and soul out of the story, replacing them with a cold, calculating, sterile approach. Norman has trimmed her award-winning book in an effort to be politically correct. The opening scenes in India are so truncated as to leave new audiences mystified as to what is happening. Dialogue is replaced by a dancing interpretation of “cholera” that waves a red scarf over victim after victim. So much dialogue is missing from Act One, it often seems the show is now going to be a sung through musical. Joining colonial India in the PC Closet are Archibald’s hunchback and his son Colin’s wheelchair. This just adds more confusion to the plot for first timers since both items are mentioned, just never seen. Read more…