Reviewed Saturday May 22nd, 2010
Resented by Marie Clark Musical Theatre
Venue: Arts Theatre, 53 Angas Street, Adelaide
Season: May 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29 at 8pm, matinees May 22 & 29 at 2.00pm
Tickets: Regular: $24/$19 (plus booking fees); May 26 performance, all tickets $19 (plus booking fees)
Bookings: BASS 131 246 or www.bass.net.au or group discounts available by calling 8411 6661
It is a surprising treat to discover that the tale of The Ugly Duckling can hold just as much appeal to adults as it does for children. Far from being a pantomime, this award-winning musical-comedy gives the performers basic animal traits to represent the barnyard menagerie in human form. With such a a fun script, an important message, and a host of quirky characters, director Megan Dansie has created a colourful, tongue-in-cheek tale of tolerance and identity from a book by Anthony Drewe.
Scott Reynolds is marvellous as Ugly, an outcast on the farmyard who must find his way home after becoming lost. Along the way he discovers that acceptance must come from within before it can be found elsewhere.
As the villainous cat, Jethro Pidd is divinely sleazy, oozing seduction from every…paw.
Ugly’s parents, played by Kate Brooker and Brendan Clare, fill their roles adequately but strain with their songs, unlike Ugly’s young siblings who prove to be some of the best talent in the show. Two juvenile casts alternate performances, with Emily Goldsmith, Chaynel Bleeze, Evan Wolfendale and Sophie Riggs playing the ducklings in last Saturday’s matinee.
Maxine Morales and Eleanor Stankiewicz are superb as Lowbutt and Queenie, two delightfully different creatures sharing their lives together, but Daniel Salmond is the showstopper as Bullfrog. He provides all the razzle, dazzle and style needed to bring the house down. Renee Brice’s vibrant costumes work nowhere better than in his song “Warts and All”, just as Rachel Dow’s likeable choreography shines brightest in this big, fabulous number.
The ensemble work is great, with a flock of regimental geese being a comic highlight.
The music by George Stiles is brought to life by musical directors Kate White and Joanna Patrick but the nine piece band sometimes drowns out the cast thanks to uneven use of the microphones and the odd technical hiccup.
Ben Morton’s basic set is functional and pleasing. It would have been good to see a more cartoonish design, but there are some impressive visuals created jointly with director Dansie, in particular the snow storm late in the second Act.
A pleasing, fun comedy for everyone, so Honk if you love a laugh.
Review by Rod Lewis, Glam Adelaide Performing Arts Critic