Review: Jacqueline Wilson’s Hetty Feather, New Theatre, Cardiff

‘You can be whoever you want to be’ is the message that comes through in the musical adaptation of Jacqueline Wilson’s best selling novel Hetty Feather currently playing at Cardiff’s New Theatre.  

The show follows plucky Victorian heroine, Hetty, through the trials and tribulations of her life. As a baby she was left at London’s Foundling Hospital and is now set on finding her mother, via foster families, tyrannical matrons and a travelling circus.

Of course, in true Jacqueline Wilson style, there’s a fair share of laughter and tears along the way. The story keeps one foot in the world of gritty realism as well as imagining the hopes and dreams of a Victorian Orphan.

Writers Emma Reeves and Sally Cookson along with composer Benji Power have breathed further magic into Jacqueline Wilson’s story book and brought Hetty’s story to life for the whole family to enjoy.

Envisaging Hetty’s dream of joining the circus, her story is related from a circus ring made up of hoops, ribbons and ropes and told through a talented team of five actors and three musicians through music, song and dance.

Phoebe Thomas heads the cast with an endearing and dynamic portrayal of Hetty, which sees the actress literally pushed from pillar to post as the action unfolds. Her co-stars similarly follow through with dynamic performances, frequently doubling up as orphans or circus characters (including a particularly Monty Python-esque circus slot as show horses).

The accompanying music provided by Luke Potter and Seamas H.Carey provides further atmosphere to the show, including a cheeky Victorian rendition of Eye of The Tiger accompanying the circus’ Strongest Man In The World routine.

The theatrical family treat for Easter, Hetty Feather continues at the New Theatre until April 3.  

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