Christmas Special: The Ugly Duckling
Venue: Hull Truck Theatre
Dates: Until Saturday 5 January
Review by: Julia Pattison
I’m old enough to remember Danny Kaye’s wonderful rendition of the song The Ugly Duckling, written by Frank Loesser, a superb songwriter.
So, I was as enchanted as the young audience when, to my delight, Spruce (Sophie Mercell) began reading the lyrics to the song out loud at the beginning of the show, as Sidney (Phoebe Vigor) acted them out with great gusto and energy.
Written by Samuel Caseley, directed by Ruby Thompson and designed by Natalie Pryce, this was a festive reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale. A bold new show, and an exciting, original theatre experience for young audiences and their families.
Everything about the show, though seemingly spontaneous and effortless, had been carefully considered, The Herd (a supported company at Hull Truck Theatre and Hull Libraries’ Associate Theatre Company) had clearly done their research thoroughly, and were rewarded by the enthusiastic responses from the young audience, who particularly enjoyed the interactive parts of the show.
The cast of three, Phoebe Vigor, Sophie Mercell, and Sophie Clay (playing Coach Spring) embraced the magic of the story about being a duckling not a swan, about friendship, making the most of childhood, and not being afraid of making mistakes.
Like all good, quality children’s theatre this production spoke to the audience on more than one level; plenty of slapstick for the youngsters, but a message too to the grown- ups about not being afraid to let out the inner child every now and then!