Honk!

The Royal Holloway Music Theatre returns for its ninth consecutive year. Honk! by Drewe and Stiles, is a musical reworking of the children’s classic, The Ugly Duckling.

When Ugly hatches from his egg, his siblings and the other ducks on the lake are horrified at his drab appearance. Taunted by the other ducks and led astray by the cat, who has a sinister ulterior motive, Ugly leaves home and becomes lost. Trying to find his way home, he meets a frog, a flock of geese and some beautiful swans. Eventually he discovers his true nature and also finds love. All ends happily ever after.

The performance should appeal to both adults and children. Although it’s based on a fairytale, the performers take it seriously enough for anyone with imagination to enjoy it. Costumes and scenery are deliberately sparse but work well – the ducklings wear yellow, swans have a few white feathers and the frog sits on a green leaf. The turkey walks exactly as a turkey should. Ugly’s siblings, when newly hatched, mimicked the movements of real ducklings very well.

The live music is extremely good although, from where I was sitting, it occasionally made it difficult to hear the female singers’ words.

There is plenty of humour within the production, starting with ‘a poultry tale of folk down on the farm’. I particularly enjoyed the flock of geese whose behaviour and language will be familiar to anyone who’s ever seen a Second World War flying movie. Recommended for anyone who hasn’t forgotten their childhood.

Reviews by Alan Chorley

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The Blurb

C Venues 34, 2-28 August 12.45pm (1 hour 40 minutes)

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