The Pleasance Theatre was buzzing with two groups of school kids when we arrived – Christmas decorations up and plenty of excitement in the air. The staff were really friendly, and since we were only a group of four they whisked us in ahead of everyone else.
This really is a lovely show. The two actresses took on the roles of all the characters with great gusto, and the kids were pretty much totally absorbed.
A feathered courier delivers the offending egg to Mother Duck who then promptly declared it ‘Bigger than the other ones’ and anyway she was waiting for her ‘Cruise tickets’.
The message of ‘it is not what you look like but who you are on the inside that counts’ was spoken out loudly from the beginning, but still cleverly allowed Mother Duck to add ‘but not all people think like that’ and march off.
Kipper Tie Theatre company take the Ugly Duckling on a journey of self discovery meeting The Dog that thinks he’s a spy; cue some apt James Bond puns and a song and dance routine about being a ‘double act’ with plenty of Hollywood references –for the adults, thank you Kipper Tie Theatre.
The Dog teaches Ugly Duckling about Imagination and her next meeting, with the Performing Cat, teaches her to be brave, whilst Hen adorns her with the compliment of ‘being clever’.
Each pairing, in turn, made children and adults chuckle alike – and gasp in amazement (watch out for Hen’s act – I found myself saying out loud “How did they do that?!”)
This was my little boy’s first theatre trip (that he could remember) and he started out by asking ‘When are the ducklings coming out?’. As the show started this changed to “But they are just people, it isn’t real” – which, made me panic slightly – did he not see the magic? We were in safe hands – he was soon drum rolling on his knees, shouting out, and, generally sitting mesmerised. ‘I like the duckling best’ he said, smiling broadly. His little friend liked the cat and loved the ‘princess’ too.
The ‘princess’ was indeed the Swan Mummy – it is actually amazing what you can do with a few white feather boas.
What I loved about this show is the way they mixed things up – they had comedy, song and dance, and aimed high occasionally (in terms of some references) for the adults but kept everything visually focussed on the kids. The costumes were a plethora of higgledy-piggledy colour, reflecting the not-taking-things-too-seriously image, whilst sending an important message.
The beautiful cat looked rather like a slightly sloshed 1930s upper class lady, all a bit in disarray, whilst the dog was more of a Biggles character, without the goggles
If you can get tickets to this you should – great for the little ones as it lasts for no longer than an hour. If my 3 year old, who happily hurls himself from sofa to sofa can sit still, any one can.
Take a look at The Ugly Duckling listing for more information – including a great ticket deal for kidsfunlondon peeps.
Travel: The Pleasance, in Islington, is tucked away, just a five minute walk from Caledonian Road tube (Piccadilly Line). Totally easy to get to too – I came up from Brixton.