Tracy Beaker Gets Real
King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, Tue 3?"Sat 7 Apr
She’s rude, inconsiderate, bolshy and the bane of many parents’ lives. Tracy Beaker may be a fictional creation, but her cheeky expressions - both facial and verbal - have been embraced by pre-pubescents across the land.
Best-selling author, Jacqueline Wilson knew what she was doing when she brought Tracy into the world. Her hugely successful books have been adapted into a major television series, and now a musical stage show Tracy Beaker Gets Real is touring the UK. But while she may be a menace for the care workers at the children’s home where she lives (or the ‘dumping ground’ as it’s famously known), Tracy has her vulnerable side - as actress Pippa Duffy found out.
‘One of the hardest things about playing Tracy in the show is allowing the audience to occasionally feel sorry for her, but without losing the essence of her,’ she says. ‘Tracy doesn’t want or need people’s sympathy, but her situation is so moving sometimes you can’t help but feel for her. So I have to allow that to happen without playing the boo hoo card.’
Showing Tracy’s softer side may have been hard, but harder still was stepping into the well-loved shoes of Danni Harmer. Having played Tracy on the small screen for the past four years, Harmer is a national heroine - a tough act for Duffy to follow on stage. ‘For the first ten minutes there’s a sense that the children are judging me,’ admits Duffy. ‘But gradually, as the story draws them in, they let go and enjoy it. Because it’s the essence of the story and characters they love, just done in a different way.’