It’s always a pleasure to walk into a small theatre and be greeted by the owner/producer who is sat in the corner working on their laptop and having a coffee. It gives a place a homely feel which is lovely. Its no surprise then that the Union Theatre won the award for Most Welcoming Venue at last years Wilma Awards and they are still living up to the accolade.
The White Feather is a brand new, lovely little folk musical set in deep dark Suffolk back at the start of the first world war. In a time where men were sent off to war and women were left to stay behind and wait for the telegrams that said ‘Died in action’, longing to see the men in their life walk through the front door again. This show is also a reflection of how life is still as difficult for people around the world today. We tend to shut our minds off from the wars going on in the world because they aren’t happening to us directly but this is a reminder of the hell people around the world are still going through.
This production sounds great with cast members singing on stage and from behind the audience backstage to add volume which gives a great surround-sound feel to the show. The set and space are well used but perhaps not as imaginative as they could have been. Musically is where this show really falls down. The songs are lovely folk tunes perfectly accompanied by Piano, Cello and Violin but there is no eleven o’clock number or really any memorable tune as they are all very similar and tend to blend together.
Cameron Leigh and Kathryn Rutherford play the two snooty women of the town Emma and Hannah whose relationship is hinted about being more than just a friendship at the end of the show. Cameron (Emma) has a lovely sweet voice that really shows through in act 1 whist Kathryn (Hannah) came across a little shouty at time (especially in the final song of act 1) which overpowered the rest of the cast substantially.
Abigail Matthews was very sweet as the main character Georgina who loses her brother in war and goes on to fight to have his death categorised as unfair. Abigail’s somerset accent started off well but did start to slip during the second half of the show. Katie Brennan is always consistently good in the shows I have seen her in. She gets all the biggest laughs in the brash neighbour next door type character that she plays and lights up the stage with her face.
Adam Pettigrew was wonderful as sixteen year old Harry, who lies about his age to get into the war and then experiences shell-shock leading into a downspiral. Adam has a great voice and is a brilliant actor. He would make a great Marius in Les Mis! David Flynn plays Adam Davey well as the man with more than a few secrets who reluctantly goes off to war to eventually turns out to be quite a different man to the one we are led to believe he is. Lee Dillon-Stuart, Zac Hamilton and Christopher Blades complete the cast in this very strong ensemble show.
White Feather isn’t groundbreaking or musically particularly memorable but it is a lovely way to have spent a Tuesday evening and if you’re around the Southwark area it is worth checking out.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Photo: Scott Rylander
White Feather is playing at the Union Theatre until 17 October 2015. Click here to book tickets