The Girl in the Blue Coat was performed at the Hen and Chickens Theatre in Islington as part of the Camden Fringe Festival. Adapted from Thomas Hardy’s short story Destiny and a Blue Cloak by Fiona Ho, who has written the music and lyrics and also, alongside David Bignell, directs, this is an appealing musical that has charm enough to overcome the fact that it is a little rough around the edges.
The story is set in the nineteenth century, during the events leading up to the General Strike of 1842. Set in a small village, Cloton, it follows Abbie Pollin, whose purchase of a new blue coat leads to a case of mistaken identity which both leads to and potentially threatens her future happiness.
Lauren Potter gives a good performance as Abbie, with her cousin Beth played by Emily Calderwood. The spiteful Frances Lovill is excellently portrayed by Georgia Thomas, while Patrick O’Sullivan is very good as both Mr Winwood, Abbie’s love, and her unwanted suitor, Farmer Lovill. It may be a bit shaky, but there is a great deal of potential in this charming little show.