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Kings Heath pupils review Tom's Midnight Garden at the Old Rep

In a special project with the Birmingham Mail, a group of children from Colmore Junior School in Kings Heath became theatre critics for the day, reviewing Tom's Midnight Garden at the Old Rep, Birmingham.

Jane Hobson Caitlin Thorburn and David Tute star in Tom's Midnight Garden
Caitlin Thorburn and David Tute star in Tom's Midnight Garden

How can past be present? Tom’s Midnight Garden is about a boy who moves into his aunt’s flat after his brother, Peter, catches measles. His emotional adventure starts when he hears the ‘never wrong’ grandfather clock chime 13! Tom arrives in a time from the past and experiences a fantastic wonderland where he shares happy times with Hatty.

This beautifully crafted theatre adaptation by David Wood works wonderfully with the talented instrument-playing actors. Lighting, sound and creative scenery enable the audience to enjoy this masterpiece. Exciting moments arrive when flashes of lightning illuminate the stage. The costumes are extremely well crafted and reflect the time period. This engaging tale concludes with a heart-warming reunion as past meets present.

Verdict: * * * * *

Junias, Aslan, Luka, Alicia, Hayley, Emily

What an amazing performance at The Old Rep! In this incredible adaptation of Tom’s Midnight Garden, a young boy (Tom) is forced to stay at his aunt’s flat because his brother has measles. One night, the old grandfather-clock strikes 13 and enables Tom to travel back in time. In his adventures, he meets a young girl called Hatty and strikes up a beautiful relationship.

The actors were believable and the three cousins were especially good. At times we felt it hard to follow due to a lack of props but we understood the importance of not using too many props to avoid delay in setting up scenes. The sound effects were hair-raising and the clever use of musicians really helped create an atmosphere.

This outstanding production, directed by Neil Foster and crew, is a great one for the family!

Verdict: * * * *

Imogen, Beth, Antonia, Sam, Harvinder and Veneise

Tom’s Midnight Garden is a play that mixes fantasy, adventure and suspense.

A young boy (Tom) moves into his aunt and uncle’s flat because his brother (Peter) has measles. During the night, when the clock strikes 13, he opens the door to a past world where he meets amazing characters such as Hatty, Abel, the evil Aunt Grace and Hatty’s three annoying cousins.

In this world, only Hatty and Abel can see him. Is Tom a ghost? We observed a most moving relationship develop between the main characters (Tom and Hatty). Lighting, music and imaginative props, all help the audience to feel this emotion. Director Neal Foster and his team have done an outstanding job at making Philippa Pearce’s novel accessible and understandable to all ages.

Verdict: * * * *

Hateem, Caitlin, Amarah, Aliya, Maimoonah, Matin and Molly

Do you like mystery and suspense? If so you will love the adaptation of Tom’s Midnight Garden.

It is tale of a young boy who goes to stay with his aunt and uncle. One night he discovers a magical garden, unlocking the door to adventure and questions about who really exists.

This trip through time will make you sit on the edge of your seat. The actors are very believable and are able to play their parts to an excellent standard. Clever usage of these talented actors as musicians really adds to the overall personal atmosphere. After a slow start, this soon warmed up into an emotional journey leaving you satisfied and happy.

Verdict: * * * * *

Charlotte, Millie, Malaiqa, Kathryn, Oliver, Nina and Omar

The inspiring novel by Philippa Pearce has now been brought to life in a spectacular production by Birmingham Stage Company directed by Neal Foster.

In one hour and 50 minutes, this cleverly thought out performance stretches imaginative boundaries, as the audience is left questioning their own judgement of time and reality!

Clever lighting gives the stage a mysterious atmosphere and the actors’ clear speaking and performance really helps explain this complex tale. Live music and sound effects also help to create on the edge of your seat moments. It turned out to be a bumper-box full of thoughtful fun for all the family.

Verdict: * * * *

Emily, Lydia, Mya, Arun, Aliza and Elijah

* Tom’s Midnight Garden is on at the Old Rep until January 25. For details visit: www.oldreptheatre.org.uk

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