First night review HETTY FEATHER by Emma Reeves based on book by Jacqueline Wilson EMMA Reeves’ stage adaptation of Jacqueline Wilson’s beloved novel Hetty Feather is a tale full of both joy and tragedy, whisking its audience from the English countryside to the dangerous streets of Victorian London and deep into the wonders of Tanglefields Travelling Circus.

With an impressive list of best-selling children’s classics to choose from it is Hetty Feather that Jacqueline Wilson singles out as her all-time favourite.

Set in Victorian London, the story follows the adventures of the title character, Hetty.

Abandoned by her mother at the Foundling Hospital as an infant, Hetty’s fiery spirit ensures she never allows herself to be broken by her brutal surroundings whilst clasping onto the hope that she will one day be reunited with her real mother.

Whilst watching the escapades of the orphaned children struggling to find their way in Victorian England it is difficult not to be reminded of the Dickens classic Oliver Twist.

This fact is clearly not lost on the cast as they momentarily break into a rendition of ‘who will buy’ during the first act.

Meanwhile, Phoebe Thomas’ endearing portrayal of the charismatic Hetty bears a striking resemblance to a young Jane Eyre, displaying much of the courage, hope and feistiness that made Jane such a memorable character.

The colourful set design gives the play a magical atmosphere and creates an intriguing outlet into Hetty’s active imagination.

The audience is first introduced to Hetty as she narrates the story of her birth whilst sitting in a large circus hoop suspended above the centre of the stage. We are further enthralled as the cast members glide across the stage on long, red ribbons, whilst the most amusing creative interpretation is credited to a group of actors posing as circus horses complete with feather hats and straw tails.

Tailored for a young audience, the play may fail to capture adult attention throughout, however, the brief tragic moments upheld by stunning performances make for some incredibly moving sequences.

Meanwhile, the play’s many unpredictable twists for those unfamiliar with the original story keep the audience on its toes and roaring with applause at the end.

If you are searching for a family night out then look no further than Hetty Feather and be sure to get yourself down to Windsor Theatre Royal before it’s too late!

Hetty Feather is at Theatre Royal Windsor in Thames Street until Saturday.

To book visit or call the box office on 01753 853 888.