Ashley Kurtz visits Storyhouse’s first Christmas endeavour and finds that The Secret Seven is a great show for the family over the festive period.
The Secret Seven
Enid Blyton’s The Secret Seven is not something I’m familiar with. Coming from America, it is not something engrained in our childhood (or at least not mine). The best thing about this show is that you can go into it without knowing anything about The Secret Seven, and truly enjoy it. Written and adapted for stage by Glyn Maxwell, the children’s classic is absolutely brought to life – Peter (Harry Jardine), Janet (Harriet Slater), Colin (Kaffe Keating) , Barbara (Molly Logan), George (Anton Cross), Pam (Aryana Ramkhalawon) and Jack (George Caple) are seeking a mystery to solve for Christmas, and a burglar named Jocko (Nick Figgis) and his sidekick Goldie (Evangeline Hartley) are determined to ruin Christmas for Cherrydale!
After witnessing a strange, nervous man pushing a wheelbarrow of presents, the Seven are sure that something mysterious is happening, and turns out, they’re right! The audience watches the gang run around their town, hopping fences, meeting up in a shed, watching strange people doing strange things, and having, as the director Alex Clifton says, “glorious unsupervised exploration.”.
The cast are all wonderful, and are spectacular at making the audience forget that they aren’t actually children. With just the right amount of silliness they perpetuate the illusion of childhood. There are random bits of audience participation; and it was a blast watching children call out for Jack’s forgotten password, and when the onstage band plays Christmas songs, it makes the play even more festive. The set includes a bunker-esque shed where the Seven have their secret meetings, various poles that the kids climb up and down and neighborhood fences. The smooth transitions between set changes, keeps the pace of the play lively and the children attentive.
The Secret Seven is terrific entertainment for children and adults alike. A must-see over the festive period!
The Secret Seven plays at The Storyhouse in Chester until January 14th.