Edinburgh Fringe 2014
The classic ballet Swan Lake – retold with plastic ducks. Honestly, you’ll be hooked.
So, yes. Swan Lake as performed by rubber ducks, the kind you might find in your kid’s bath. As Edinburgh Fringe hooks go, it’s a good one – it’s certainly an idea to pique your interest when faced with a thousand and one other shows vying for your attention. What’s perhaps mildly surprising is how well it all works.
So much more than the simple gag of its title and conceit, The Duck Pond is at various times funny and touching, thrilling and silly, sexy and sensual, childish and grown up. It’s a thrilling show with all the fun of the fair. It’s actually for the most part set within the confines of a fun fair (that’s where the toy ducks come from), where our central character Prince Siegfried (James Bennett) mopes around uninterested in all that his kingdom has to offer, and shyer than a line of coconuts.
It’s only in the light of the silvery moon that the Prince manages to find someone to ruffle his feathers, but despite this being a version of the classic ballet in yellow plastic hues and crazily funny moments, the darker notes are still played. There’s a sequence that manages to be both sombre and sensual as we meet the Black Swan of this story, gorgeously performed by a delightful Izzy Jones. There’s sinister rumblings from Tom Figgins as Rothbart, who may or not be cursed, and Kitty Hildergarde impresses in her first role with the company.
It’s worth pointing out that almost every cast member has multiple roles to play, and they manage to swap from madcap silliness to morose steeliness in a matter of moments. There’s a very good chance that you’ll come out humming those six notes, and as an introduction to ballet for the kids in your life, you couldn’t do much better. If you’re concerned that ballet isn’t for you, then don’t be: in a hour long show, such highbrow things are kept to a minimum – what you’re left with is a gorgeous show for all the ages.