Hetty Feather Review at DUCTAC

Lately, I’ve been getting an insatiable hankering for a bit of culture.

I had heard rave reviews about the play Hetty Feather and so I spontaneously decided to catch the matinee show on the very LAST day at DUCTAC.

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Hetty Feather is based on the book by renowned English writer Jacqueline Wilson, whose books are world famous with over 30 million copies being sold in the UK alone.

As soon as the play started, I felt completely engaged in the plot and the creative and highly personal way it was narrated.

Set in the Victorian era, the story centers around feisty headstrong redhead, Hetty Feather who was abandoned by her mother and given up to the Foundling Hospital as a baby. The plot highlights her ongoing quest to find her biological mother as well as her relationships and experiences along the way.

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There was a very small but solid cast, with some actors playing multiple roles. This could have been confusing, but the context was made very obvious due to the fact that the actors were incredibly talented, versatile and highly multi-faceted.

The sets and scenery were simple and improv was highly relied on. This is not a disadvantage and it was still captivating because it encouraged the audience to use the art of pretend, making it even more magical. The circus scenes were particularly entrancing.

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There was an emotional roller-coaster element portrayed throughout. It had the perfect balance of pulling at your heart strings, yet not being too overwhelmingly heavy or depressing.

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Although essentially a children’s story, the content was relatable to everyone.

All humans crave their own idealistic interpretation of “happily ever after.”

Like Hetty, we go from hurdle to hurdle and just when we think we have sussed it, we get smacked unexpectedly with a cold hard dose of reality.
The play deals with this theme this beautifully, but illustrates that despite it all, everything isn’t always doom and gloom. Life has an imperfect beauty and the random nature of it should be embraced, cherished and celebrated.

It also highlights the compassion in human nature and that the pursuit of happiness is an adventure within itself. .

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Exceptional acting with a compelling, charming story.

Needless to say my thirst for culture was, indeed, quenched.

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Peter Pan Show – YAK Events

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There’s something about watching a musical live that makes me so feel so elated. The costumes, the lighting … the way everyone just spontaneously burst into a synchronised dance. (I wish life could be like that!!!)

I’m a huuuuge theatre buff so every time I go to London, I make it a point to see atleast one play. You name it I’ve seen it. Grease, Jersey Boys, Top Hat, Singing in the Rain, Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Oliver Twist, Sister Act… (and that’s just the tip of he iceberg!)

Regarding theatre/musicals, this is something I always felt Dubai lacks to a certain extent, and it’s a shame because when there IS a show on, it does so well over here and is frequently fully booked! I went to see Chicago years ago in Dubai and although it was good, personally I felt like it just didn’t do it for me. It did not have that spark .. that “je ne sais quoi” compared to the West End.

I had resigned myself to the idea that musicals in Dubai just are never going to be up to scratch … UNTIL I saw Peter Pan at Trade Center a couple of weeks ago. That show was a game changer for me.

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For starters, the special effects were INCREDIBLE and the show was visually stunning. Unlike traditional musical sets, this stage had a state of the art digitally projected backdrop that the actors would be against. This screen was constantly animated and in moments, it would transform from an atmospheric wintery London scene to pirate ship sailing choppy seas. As well as this, there were 3D elements to add even more realism, like a big grand chandelier, or a ship sailing across the sky, or a menacing 3D crocodile creeping from the corner.

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It was also very innovative how they gave the illusion of Peter Pan flying, using an I-Fly like apparatus and suspended invisible wires against a “starlit” stage. The actors were not only skilled at singing and dancing, but with their constant seemingly effortless flips, cartwheels and somersaults they proved to be incredibly agile acrobats too!

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Tinkerbell was portrayed very creatively using a mixture of glow lights and a couple of spontaneous cleverly aimed fireworks. Genius! I only wish I could have seen superstar Myriam Fares play the role, but she was only performing for one show. For those unfamiliar with her, she’s kind of like … the Lebanese equivalent of Taylor Swift.

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The music was very enjoyable, and the songs were all familiar as they were all world famous songs. Such a variety too – from Moulin Rouge’s “One Day I’ll Fly Away” to Rasmus’ “In the Shadows”. The actors all had superb voices. I was particularly impressed with Peter and Wendy’s duet, and Hook’s aria. He sung “Nessun Dorma” with such character. As far as villans go, I found him quite likeable.

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My favorite part of the play was the way they portrayed the mermaid – she was sooo MYTHICAL with her cascades of long waves and long sequin encrusted tail glimmering in the dark. Absolutely breathtaking costumes. Some of the BEST I’ve EVER seen.

Lastly, the “I believe in fairies” scene made the children feel like they were participating in the play and as a result they were completely engaged. I really liked how this scene made the audience interact, rather than just feel like spectators.

Peter Pan really was truly successful in bringing childlike magic back to Dubai. Best play of the year for sure!

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