Last weekend the Minx and I went to see Hetty Feather at the Vaudeville Theatre, London. She’s just eight and we haven’t dipped into the world of Jacqueline Wilson quite yet so we fell headfirst into this and it was love at first sight.
The stage is open and draped with red silks akin to the inside of a circus tent, two musicians are singing as you enter the auditorium and you are already filled with wonder at what you are about to see.
They are a small cast of six plus two musicians and they are seriously the hardest working cast around. They not only play more than several parts each (apart from Phoebe Thomas in the title role), but also sing, some play instruments, some are aerialists, they climb, they swing and they draw you into the story of Hetty Feather.
Hetty Feather is based on the best-selling novel by Jacqueline Wilson published in 2009. Hetty was abandoned as a newborn baby to the Foundling Hospital, and then fostered until just before the age of six when all children have to be taken back to the hospital where they spend the rest of their childhood. She is separated from her foster brother when the girls and boys are segregated. She is a feisty redhead and determined to find her real mother whom she believes to be a circus performer.
The show follows Hetty’s story from (and back to) the foundling hospital, to her foster family, her friendships and her instinct for survival. It’s heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. And a joy to see so many young people in the audience who are clearly true fans of the book and Jacqueline Wilson’s work who were also entranced by such a brilliant cast on stage.
Hetty Feather is only on in London until September 6th, so whether you are 7 or 97 it’s well worth a see.