On a very warm, barmy evening there is no more magical place to be than Regents Park Open Air Theatre and the perfect setting for this delightful version of The Secret Garden.

Frances Hodgson Burnett, who wrote the original book, personally knew the restorative nature of a garden when she lived at Great Maytham Hall at the turn of the 20th Century. What the writers of this version, Holly Robinson and Anna Himali Howard have done is take that original story and make it a more touching and even visceral story for the 21st Century.

Here Mary is still orphaned after her parents die in India from cholera, but in this version, she has a mother who is native to India. This immediately makes Mary more of an outsider when coming to England to live with her uncle. Hanna Khalique-Brown is a spiky version of Mary that truly struggles to find herself and the desire to care about others. Khalique-Brown plays the 10-year-old with delightful vigour and makes a wonderful central character.

She leaves India for Yorkshire, but she still longs for the familiarity of her home brought to the fore by Leslie Travers all encompassing walled set with its lamp niches and various doors that provide the backdrop to the whole story. The staging fits perfectly with the clever storytelling through a shared narrative. Here the whole company work together to ‘narrate’, which is expertly done. Out of this ‘chorus’ the characters step forth, which include the animals, which morph from items of clothing. A fur stole becomes the squirrel, a cardigan the fox, and a black fringed shawl the screeching crow. The robin is particularly delightful, being a red breast simply painted on a Sharan Phuli’s palm, which she flits around the stage adding charm and her own sing-song call.

One of the first people to begin to break down Mary’s stuffiness is Martha played with heart and much humour by Molly Hewitt-Richards. She introduces Mary to Dickon a touching performance by Brydie Service, who with the help of Richard Clews’s bumbly old gardener Ben Weatherstaff help Mary bring the Secret Garden back to life.

What makes this version special is the way that it avoids the idea that the garden can miraculously cure disability and instead lets the garden have a restorative effect on the way we view disability which is both on point and provides the story with a message that feels totally right for an audience today. This is particularly apparent in the closing scene where his father accepts Colin, his cosseted son, for the robust child he has now become. This is made all the more wonderful by the sensitive performances of Theo Angel as Colin and Jack Humphrey as Archibald Craven.

Not every moment in Anna Himali Howard’s wonderfully imagined and directed production holds the attention with the occasional bit of the story that dwells a little too long, but as a whole this is a delightful production that shouldn’t be missed, especially if the weather is a kind as it has been of late.