There once was an ugly duckling. He had a scraggly tail and stumpy wings and he was very worried about making friends. In this production of the well-known Hans Christian Andersen story Kipper Tie Theatre use music and costume changes to show the audience that it isn’t how you look but what you are like inside that really matters.
The story is told with enchanting enthusiasm as the ugly duckling goes out into the world to try and make friends, meeting a dog and a cat, amongst others, on his travels. Along the way he discovers what really makes a person special. The physicality throughout is very impressive, evoking the nature of each animal without resorting to crude interpretations. Songs add variety to the story, combined with a smattering of signing spread across the piece. The sign language might have been more effective if it were explained to the audience what signing actually was. However, it was still a nice touch allowing the audience to interact with the narrative throughout in an educational manner, whether they knew it or not.
Though the narrative is charming it goes over the heads of some of the youngest audience members. Despite the suggested age rating being 0+ it would be hard for anyone under the age of two to understand the story. The level of disruption towards the end of the performance is testament to this. The cast struggled to make themselves heard and to regain the audience’s attention meaning that many missed the all-important moral of the story. However the storytelling itself was lovely, enthusiastic and well spoken. Engaging the majority of the audience without a hint of condescension.