Review: Hetty Feather, Duke of York’s Theatre

“I want to be a servant girl”

There’s no doubt that I wouldn’t have gotten to see Hetty Feather were it not an early 11th birthday present for my niece but I’m mighty glad that I did as it proved to be a most unexpectedly enchanting piece of theatre. She’s a big fan of Jacqueline Wilson’s original novel whilst I’d barely heard of her at all but Sally Cookson’s hugely inventive production of Emma Reeves’ adaptation managed to charm both of us (and make both of us cry in the second act!)

Cookson frames her stage within circus apparatus designed by Katie Sykes, a climbing frame with ropes and silks and trapezes which the company climb and clamber and swing with fearless acrobatic skill, which shapes the playful feel of the whole show. Phoebe Thomas’ Hetty has all the mischievous character of the most compelling of protagonists, a troupe of performing horses are hilariously conjured with plumes and even an elephant named Elijah comes to pay a visit. Continue reading “Review: Hetty Feather, Duke of York’s Theatre”

Review: Cool Hand Luke, Aldwych

“50 hard boiled eggs…in an hour”

A random fact about me is that I am terrible when it comes to having seen classic movies. It’s a constant source of amusement in pub conversations as people can’t quite believe the list of films I’ve never seen but for whatever reason, I’ve never really been particularly minded to watching them. Consequently I have a pile of unopened DVDs* that people keep giving me as presents or loans that are, honestly, on the list of things I will one day get round to watching.

This convoluted beginning should therefore present you with no surprise when I then say that I have never seen the film of Cool Hand Luke, a stage version of which has now started previewing in the Aldwych Theatre. Adapted for the stage by Emma Reeves, from the original novel by Donn Pearce, the story revolves around Luke Jackson, a WWII vet left unsupported on his return to the US and forced into desperate measures, soon ends up in a Florida prison camp. There, he soon becomes a legend with his fellow chain gang inmates with his nonchalant swagger, his impervious refusal to be broken by the guards and his constant prison escapes. Continue reading “Review: Cool Hand Luke, Aldwych”