The life and work of classic children's author Beatrix Potter is given a sweet folk musical twist in this fun ensemble piece. Crammed into a tiny bunker-like space, the piece feels and looks like it’s taking place in Mr McGregor’s shed. All the cast play multiple parts and are dressed like farmers in waistcoats and flat-caps, apart from the actor who plays Potter herself.
They interact confidently with the audience, encouraging them to get involved in the action
The cast are energetic and friendly, if a little bit too perky at times. They are good singers, have fun with their Yorkshire accents and characterisation of the various characters who surround Potter (such as her overbearing and snobby parents).
The issue of the tiny space they’re working in is hard to overcome and often the fussy choices they make intensify the cramped atmosphere. There are too many actors with not enough to do. The story of Potter’s life (which basically follows exactly the same plot as the film Miss Potter) is interspersed with retellings of some of her famous stories. These are much less successful, because the cramped space makes it hard for the actors to create the precise gestures and movements needed to present animal characters, so these sequences feel clunky and amateurish.
They interact confidently with the audience, however, encouraging them to get involved in the action and they keep the story flowing with a pace which allows it to remain gripping throughout. The folk music is also an appropriate accompaniment that resonates with the emotion of the story.