If you have children of a certain age, you will know all about Jacqueline Wilson and her brilliant books. Hetty Feather is the first book in a set of four (fifth in the pipeline!) Hetty Feather adventure series.
Set in Victorian times, Hetty Feather tells the story of a spirited, imaginative girl who is trying to find where she comes from, where her place is in the world…and her real name! Given up to the Foundling Hospital shortly after her birth by her poor mother who could not afford to look after her – Hetty Feather was the name given to her by the stern Matron at the hospital. Hetty spends her foster years dreaming of who her real mum is – and what her real name is. Playing with her foster brothers and getting up to general tomboy mischief, Hetty daydreams her way through her childhood, especially when the circus comes to town!
Just before Hetty turns six years old, she is torn from the home she has known and thrust back into the Foundling Hospital, separated from her beloved foster brother Gideon and forced to do chores whilst learning to be a house maid. Needless to say she hates it there and constantly looks for ways to escape her horrible life.
The show had everything – sadness, giggles, singing – the performances from the cast were amazing. The set design was awe inspiring – made very simply from a frame of ropes, hoops, ladders and scarves, you first wondered what they might be for. The performers gracefully manoeuvred the structure using their skilful acrobatics, it was spellbinding!
My daughter loved the whole show from start to finish, I think our favourite scene was the prancing circus horses, played out very comically by the cast. The whole theatre filled with laughter.All of the actors played multiple roles and pulled it off flawlessly, adapting from one character to another. Phoebe Thomas was an excellent casting choice as Hetty and the rest of the cast more than held their own – a hugely talented cast.
This was a magical stage show that wasn’t just for the kids, each adult enjoyed it just as much – some of the loudest gasps of delight came from the two women sat next to me…who had no children with them.
If you get the chance to catch Hetty Feather the live tour, please make sure you go and see it, and definitely buy the books! I really hope there will be more stage adaptations of Dame Jacqueline Wilson’s amazing books.
Set – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Story – 8/10