Here in Utah you can always count on Hale Centre Theatre to put on a great show. Even if the material isn’t the best the production values and performances are always top rate. It’s a good thing because it has gotten very expensive to see a show at Hale. $48 for the Sandy main stage! Recently I saw their new version of The Secret Garden with my sisters and Mom and we overall had a great time.
The Secret Garden is based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett with book and lyrics by Marsha Norman and music by Lucy Simon. I’ve honestly always found this show to be very underrated. I love the songs like “Lily’s Eyes” and “How Could I Ever Know”. You don’t see many shows these days that have a mixed sound (usually we hear all belt) but the music in The Secret Garden is classical with lovely baritone and soprano notes.
We attended the Tues/Thurs/Sat cast and they all did a great job. I was particularly impressed with Olivia Dietlein as Mary Lennox. She is in nearly every scene of the show and doesn’t miss a beat throughout. There’s also a lot of physicality required of her running around the stage and having pillow fights and she’s up for the challenge. Quinn Dietlein is also fantastic as Archibald (not sure if they are related?).
The only thing I didn’t love about this show was the gothic production design. I understand some of that is required for the beginning of the story but I could have used more warmth and hope as the story progressed. There was just something about the costuming and staging of the show that didn’t land right for me. It’s like they got so caught up in the darker parts of the story that they forgot the light. It also didn’t help that the lady behind us was loudly commenting throughout the entire show. So annoying!
The Secret Garden is playing at Hale Centre Theatre until October 23. It’s not my favorite show at Hale but definitely worth seeing if you get the chance.
7 out of 10