What’s it all about?
Jacqueline Wilson’s Victorian heroine, of course. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Hetty Feather, she’s a feisty fearless foundling who is taken into foster care as a baby. She falls in love with the circus, goes in search of her real mother and, in the dreary confines of the Foundling Hospital, discovers that the answers to her questions are just that little bit closer to home.
How do they tell the story?
Sally Cookson’s ingenious production sets Hetty’s story in the circus. With ropes, hoops and sheets dangling from the ceiling and ladders lining the sides, the cast is able to make full use not only of the entire stage but also of the space above it. The visually stunning elements of the show are complemented by some clever additions to the script as Hetty, whose lively and witty personality is conjured by Holby City’s Phoebe Thomas, narrates her own story right from her beginning as a tiny screaming baby.
What did the kids like best?
Circus star Hercules, the strongest (and arguably most effeminate) man in the world.
The mobile phone song. No, not the one seen on Britain’s Got Talent in 2012, but Benji Bower’s clever composition that encourages audience members to turn off their devices before the start of the show.
The acrobatics, which are performed by the six-strong cast with the greatest of ease and to optimum effect.
In a nutshell?
Jacqueline Wilson’s hugely popular heroine makes her West End debut in style, bringing the spectacle of the circus, the ups and downs of her incredible story and heaps of enjoyment to the Vaudeville Theatre this summer.
Will my little one like it?
Coming in at just over two hours there was always going to be the inevitable wriggling in the second half, but that’s not to say there wasn’t still a great deal of enjoyment too. With the ability to make you laugh uncontrollably and cry a few tears, Hetty Feather is an unmissable treat not only for children aged seven and older but for anyone wanting to see a magical and uplifting show at the theatre this summer.
The aforementioned running time prompts the need for some necessary toilet stops. Make sure your little ones use the facilities before curtain-up and during the interval to ensure they (and you) don’t have to miss a second of the show to spend a penny.