Hetty Feather – reviews of popular children's tale on stage

Apr 21, 2014

Stage version of Jacqueline Wilson's story of a Victorian girl looking for her mother is a joy, say critics

What you need to know

A new stage adaptation of popular children's book Hetty Feather for the Rose Theatre, Kingston is touring the UK. Jacqueline Wilson's best-selling story has been adapted for the stage by scriptwriter Emma Reeves (The Story of Tracy Beaker).  

It tells the story of plucky Hetty, a girl raised in the Foundling Hospital who escapes into the streets of Victorian London in search of her real mother and a family of her own. Touring until 21 June. 

What the critics like 

Dominic Maxwell in The Times, says he "was gripped, wowed, amused and reduced to a warm puddle of tears by this spectacular stage adaptation". Maxwell adds: "This joy for all ages rivals /Matilda the Musical/ as a family show worthy of the West End."

It's strange seeing a play of a story that you know so intimately but this production "doesn't disappoint", says Emily Drabble in The Guardian. The essence of the book is there, and something else besides – "if the company had notched the emotion up more than they did, there would have been some sort of mass hysterical reaction".

"You couldn't ask for a better Hetty" as we gallop through her adventures at a cracking pace, says Jane Martin on What's On Stage. This is a warm-hearted, collaborative production bringing Wilson's tale to the stage with verve and imagination.

What they don't like 

This stylised, acrobatic and lively stage version of Wilson's story is "too long", says Susan Elkin on The Stage. Some of the physical theatre sequences with music are repetitive and self-indulgent, and could usefully be trimmed to take 20 minutes or so off the overall length. 

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