Bristol Theatre Reviews

Review: Miss Potter’s Tailor’s Tale at the Alma Tavern Theatre

Delightful piece of theatre bringing us into the life of one of the most famous children’s author illustrators of all time

Miss Potter’s Tailor’s Tale is the theatre you don’t know you need. It’s a wholesome and gently entertaining piece told through beautiful acting by Katy Sirr.

We meet Beatrix Potter – now Mrs William Heelis – as she takes a break from Lambing on her farm in the Lake District.

Potter’s stories and images are recognisable in nursery and preschool pop culture across the world. Perhaps what’s less well known about her is how remarkably ahead of her time she was.

She was a savvy business woman. Her self-published Peter Rabbit went viral enough to break into publishing. And she was the first person to patent a toy – Peter Rabbit. All those licensed kids characters and merch in movies, TV and books, well that’s all thanks to her.

As well as all of this, she was a driving force in farming, preservation and conservation in the Lake District. If the name Heelis sounds familiar, it’s because the National Trust named their head office in Swindon after her in 2005.

She was immersed in the early beginnings of the Trust being friends with Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley – Honorary Secretary and one of the original co-founders. On her death she’d bequeathed most of her land to the charity.

Beatrix Potter’s life is one of extraordinary achievement considering that by the time we meet her in 1916, women didn’t even have the vote and women’s sufferage was considered scandalous.

We learn so much about her life through Miss Potter’s Tailor’s Tale. It’s written and directed by Christopher Denys, whose background is rooted in the Bristol Old Vic and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

The writing is an exceptionally engaging and uplifting monologue which flows through Beatrix’s thoughts against the background of her life and the historical context of the time.

Katy Sirr warmly welcomes us into her world so fully that the audience experience is much like sitting at the table in a warm farmhouse kitchen with the sound of the fire crackling and popping. Nicely observed costuming and set in the intimate auditorium of the Alma Tavern Theatre adds to the experience.

Miss Potter’s Tailor’s Tale is a delightful piece of theatre guaranteed to warm the heart. Loved it.

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