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24 September 2014

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You are in: Manchester > Entertainment > Arts, Film and Culture > Theatre, Dance and Comedy > Tom's Midnight Garden

Tom's Midnight Garden

Tom's Midnight Garden

Tom's Midnight Garden

When I was little, I used to have a recurring dream about a glass lift that moved not only up and down, but also sideways along a track. I could get out at various buildings along the North Wales coast.

I was reminded of this at the Library Theatre as a door mysteriously moved around the stage and we journeyed through time to a place where we watched Victorian children playing and teasing and generally doing the things children did in the days before TV and social networking via computer. This was Tom's Midnight Garden.

Young Tom is forced to stay with his Aunt and Uncle because he has a suspected case of measles. One night, the clock in the hall strikes thirteen and Tom creeps outside to discover a magical garden. There he meets up with Hatty, a jolly girl who appears to be the only person who can see him and she becomes his playmate.

Tom's Midnight Garden

Tom's Midnight Garden

It’s not an easy story to stage, but the Library have done it well, rising to the challenge of numerous scene changes by simplifying everything and basing the set on a giant clock face. During the changes, strange characters are seen changing props or becoming part of the scenery, which added to the oddness of the atmosphere.

The classic Philippa Pearce story, adapted by David Wood, returns to the Library Theatre after a successful run in 2002. I missed it the first time round, so can't make comparisons with the original, but if you're looking for somewhere to take the youngsters that doesn't involve screaming and shouting at the performers then you can't go far wrong with this.

The younger ones seemed to love it, hardly making a sound during the performance. They were either enthralled or the Library had put something in the smoke that engulfed them all at the start.

Tom's Midnight Garden is a tale about time and the passage of time. Funny then that this performance started twenty minutes late, due to a mystery injury to Ben Ingles. I overheard a fellow reviewer saying "If this was Sheffield, they'd be slow handclapping by now".

But thankfully this isn't Sheffield and in true Library Theatre style, the show went on.

Tom's Midnight Garden is at the Library Theatre until Saturday 12 January 2008

last updated: 04/12/07

You are in: Manchester > Entertainment > Arts, Film and Culture > Theatre, Dance and Comedy > Tom's Midnight Garden

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