Monday, November 9, 2015

review - THE SECRET GARDEN - Mesa Community College

photo: Allyson Van Patten
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Mesa Community College (MCC) last night at their new Performing Arts Center opened a sweeping and lush production of "The Secret Garden,"...deeply moving production... a credit to Allyson Van Paten's direction and producer Sue Anne Lucius' creative team....Central character Mary Lennox (...Tessa Geigle...) is orphaned at 10 when a cholera outbreak robs her of not just her parents, but the English military friends and East Indian domestics with whom she'd bonded. Memories of them, embodied by ensemble members, haunt Mary as she attempts to adjust to life at the Craven mansion in England with her widowed Uncle Archibald Craven (Ben Robbins ) and his crippled son Colin (also couble-cast, played by Jared Mortensen opening night). Of central haunting importance is also Archibald's dead wife Lily (Katie McCarthy)....Robbins (as Archibald)--throughout the evening--had the kind of effortless, earthy tenor tone that comes along once in a hundred male voices. ...McCarthy (as Lily) consistently lilted to her character's stratospheric notes. The most certain indicator she is no longer mortal seemed to be those celestially graceful soprano phrases....The evening's drawbacks were barely mentionable.... It's tricky...for both Dickon and Martha to master the Yorkshire dialect, particularly when Martha's flowing red locks and Dickon's leprechaun-like charm bend the audience's ears toward an Irish accent. On the whole, the best part is that "The Secret Garden" continues to run this weekend and next. Those able to steal away to MCC's Performing Arts Center will uncover with delighted surprise the secrets that grow from just this Mesa bit of earth." -Jennifer Haaland, (click here to read the complete review)

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