Murray Music and Drama’s musical story of the ugly duckling, is a sweet and fun production that is charming audiences of all ages. Featuring a large enthusiastic cast with children and adults, it is fairy tale fun for families.
Director Catrina Rippon’s costume concept gives us creative costuming that captures the essence of the animal characters, who burst with colour from the farmyard set. The show is sensitively lit by a design by Michael Rippon.
Scott Baggaley plays his biggest (and best) role to date, leading the cast as a very likeable Ugly Duckling, with whom we are happy to travel. He is a gorgeous contrast to his duckling siblings played with bucket loads of “cute” by Bonnie Creelman, Flynn Creelman, Sophie Collins and Matilda Ellis, and later in a more grown-up incarnation by Holly Creelman, Rohan Baggaley, Bianca Franklin and Lexi Baggaley.
A standout performer was Samantha Ferguson, a mama duck on a mission, in a wonderfully nuanced, beautifully measured and gorgeously sung performance as Ida Duck. She was well supported by Rowan Creelman who found the humour in her husband Drake. Darren Bilston was a fabulous “baddie" as Cat, relishing his villainy.
Lots of lovely cameos and brief appearances. Lain Adam is very funny as Greylag, leader of the geese, with Em Rose lovely as his offsider Dot. Jodie Mars and Jacky Creelman had lovely teamwork as pampered pussies Queenie and Lola. Maren Gosby was a sweet Penny the Swan who danced beautifully with pas de deux partner (and show choreographer) Matthew Manning.
Musical Director Liam House led a small but very tight orchestra with finger-top precision.
It was lovely to see a mix of old and new faces, especially the flock of happy young performers whose delight in performing is palpable. Honk! is a heap of fun and very much a feel-good show.