“Only a few days old and lost everything – my home, my mother and my name”
Hetty Feather was left by her mother at the London Foundling Hospital as a newborn baby. Written by best-selling author Jacqueline Wilson, Hetty Feather traces the life and experiences of a foundling child – her experience in foster care, her dalliances with the travelling circus and her return into education at the Foundling Hospital. Hetty is a feisty little thing – kindhearted, intelligent and imaginative- we follow her story as she battles to overcome all odds in the search to find her real mother.
This Olivier Award nominated production is a real treat for the Quays Theatre at The Lowry this Christmas – with a talented and award-winning creative team and an energetic, tumbling and climbing ensemble of performers. Hetty Feather is a thrilling, emotional and uplifting story adapted for the stage by writer Emma Reeves and directed by Sally Cookson.
The stage is set as a circus tent and a real playground for the performers – there are red aerial silks, ropes and ladders – designer Katie Sykes has really created the perfect canvas for Jacqueline Wilson’s characters to somersault and shine. Before the show opens, Musicians Seamus H Carey and Luke Potter set the tone for the audience with their lively folk music and we are transported back to Victorian England.
Casting is perfect with Phoebe Thomas taking the title role of Hetty Feather, with her long fiery red hair she is captivating – playing a five-year-old with ease and layering Hetty’s difficult start in life with humour and defiance. All six performers show their versatility in playing a variety of roles – they enthrall with their fusion of storytelling, live music and circus skills. Sarah Goddard tugs at our heartstrings playing foster mother Peg and Ida; talented Matt Costain takes on the contrasting roles of warm-hearted foster brother Jem and stony-faced Matron Bottomly; Nikki Warwick earns hefty applause as the trapeze artist Madame Adeline with Nik Howden as Saul and Mark Kane as Gideon completing the dynamic line-up.
Hetty Feather is an imaginative and innovative production – a fabulous adventure packed with colourful characters, a lively musical score and captivating performances. With a running time of 2 hours and 10 minutes, it’s a superb treat for older children who are so often overlooked in quality children’s theatre. Hetty Feather is an outstanding entertainment choice this Christmas – giving us all of the fun of the circus as we squeal, gasp, quake and applaud in Hetty Feather’s journey to find her mother.
Hetty Feather runs at the Lowry in Salford until 10 January 2016.