SORRENTO resident Meesha Williams is set to blossom in the enchanting musical The Secret Garden this winter.
Written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon and directed by husband-and-wife team Katherine and Justin Freind, it is based on the classic children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
It tells the story of 10-year-old Mary Lennox, orphaned while living in India, who returns to England to live with her uncle Archibald who she has never met.
Her uncle is a recluse, tormented by insecurities over his physical impairments, plagued by fears he passed those limitations onto his fragile son and constantly haunted by dreams of his late wife.
Feeling abandoned and alone, Mary is befriended by the manor staff who encourage her to find solace in the gardens that need attention.
Williams plays Lily, Archibald’s late wife.
“Her death is the source of his 10-year cloud of grief,” she said.
“Lily was special to him because she saw past the hunchback that others viewed as his defining feature.
“Instead she was drawn to his kindness and tender nature.
“In the show, she exists as fragments of other characters’ memories, grief, dreams and imaginations.
“It’s interesting to see how she connects everyone together, when they have spent so long feeling they are worlds apart.”
Williams said her favourite musicals to perform were always the older ones.
“The music is wonderful in The Secret Garden with many hauntingly beautiful songs, balanced with some really great upbeat numbers,” she said.
“I’ve been a fan of the show ever since I first heard the song Lily’s Eyes.
“I also read the book the musical was based on when I was younger and it was a favourite that stuck with me for many years.
“A lot of the themes still resonate today; the show has a very beautiful and melancholy way of conveying loss, grief and acceptance.”
What: The Secret Garden
When: 8pm on June 30, July 1, 6-8, 13-15 and 2pm on July 9
Where: Melville Theatre
Tickets: www.meltheco.org.au or call 9330 4565.