Hetty Feather at Bath Theatre Royal

Hetty Feather - (centre) Phoebe Thomas as Hetty Nikki Warwick as Madame Adeline - Photo credit Helen MurrayJACQUELINE Wilson’s story Hetty Feather, originally published in 2009, has been a hit with young readers ever since, spawning several sequels one of which is about to be published.

The Bath born writer was delighted when producer Mark Bentley suggested bring Hetty to the stage, and from its earliest outings at The Rose in Kingston, the show has gathered fans  and momentum around the country.

The book was written at the suggestion of the then director of the Found­ling Hospital, for the nine to 11 year age range, but it has found fans  of all ages, and the show has delighted children and their families.

The staging, designed by Katie Sykes, takes the audience immediately into the world of circus and the world of imagination.

Hetty Feather - Phoebe Thomas as Hetty Feather at the Foundling Hospital - (2) - Photo credit Helen MurrayWe follow our heroine from her birth to the moment she is reunited with her mother, and further, through the misery of separation, the warmth of a foster family, the excitement of the circus, the strict regime of the Foundling Hospital and the thrill of a race through Victorian London.

This brilliantly realised production, with its aerial sequences depicting love and hope and imagination, doesn’t hesitate to show the grim reality of life for foundlings, but, in celebrating the power of the human spirit, fills that reality with fun, hope and love.

It’s a great story, and the company of six with two musicians bring it to vibrant and colourful life.

Hetty Feather - Matt Costain and Nikki Warwick as Circus Performers - Photo credit Helen MurrayPhoebe Thomas is the plucky Hetty, with Matt Costain as the loveable Gem and the anything-but-loveable Matron Bottomly, Sarah Goddard as mother, foster mother and friend, Nikki Warwick as the high-flying Madame Adeline, Mark Kane as timid Gideon and Nik Howden as crippled Saul.

Seamas H Carey (well known to local audiences as a regular with Shanty Theatre, Wassail and other touring groups) and Luke Potter play all the instruments, bells and whistles as well as welcoming the audience into the theatre at the start, including their authentic and ancient folk song about mobile phones and other squeaking, bright-shining devices.

Take your children, or go along yourself. Hetty is at Bath until Sunday 24th January, with various day and early evening performances to suit all ages.


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