Edinburgh Fringe 2011
A nice performance with a talented cast, but I would have loved to see them do so much more with the story.
This performance consisted of a talented ensemble cast of 5 who skillfully re-tell the story of The Ugly Duckling: A mother duck discovers a third egg in her nest that hatches into a rather ugly looking duckling who is ungainly and awkward, is laughed at by its siblings, and is eventually cast out by the others in the farmyard. After a season of growth, and a few adventures with some other animals on the way, it returns home, having become a beautiful swan.
Costuming throughout is effective, mainly with the use of hats and footwear. The set is simple and easily manipulated by the cast members. A number of lighting cues indicated the season changes and the shift from day to night.
Performances by the cast were impressive throughout, as they capably they took on their various character roles. Of note was Dan Snelgrove who played both Toad and Rooster, and I particularly loved the teamwork between Roseanna Connolly and Emily Jane Kerr, playing the Ducklings very much like the Ugly Sisters in Cinderella, and the Wild Geese characters almost like a comedy duo.
I was a little disappointed at the lack of interactive contact with the children in the audience. There appeared to be some attempts, but only very minor. Children can watch a nice adaptation of a fairy tale on television, or on the computer … the difference with live theatre is that the fourth wall can be broken, not only giving the children a more memorable experience, but also helping to keep their attention.
There is a huge amount of high quality children’s theatre available for people to see on the Fringe, and whilst this story was nicely told, I wanted to see more from these performers. Their obvious skill could have been utilised much more, resulting in a more captivating show, and ultimately a higher star rating.
All in all though, this is a nice story for children to watch, and the performers are certainly worth seeing.
Three stars: Recommended