Reviews | Honk! Jr

Honk! Jr

Maitland Musical Society

Pro-Cathedral, Maitland, ends Sunday

James Theatre, Dungog, January 20-21

THE musical Honk! was developed by writing team composer George Stiles and lyricist Anthony Drewe to give a very human appearance in this adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s story The Ugly Duckling, and that certainly is so in this staging, with young actors, dancers and singers amusingly dressed in colourful versions of human garb.

When ducklings emerge from eggs in an early scene they have white trousers, bright yellow shirts, orange waist-coats and white bow ties, contrasting with the other hatched water bird, Ugly (Emily Causley), in white, brown and grey. Likewise, director Matthew Collins and his team have made engaging use of everyday gear, with the ducklings using inflated pool tyres with L tags attached to them as they learn to swim.

The large cast does good work in presenting the bright collection of songs, with Millie Emanuel, as Ida, the mother duck, and Charlotte Gabities, as Maureen, a moor-hen, movingly delivering The Joy of Motherhood when the eggs hatch (Rebecca Causley is Maureen from January 13), and there is a very brisk Wild Goose Chase when geese appear in military-style clothes.

This junior version of Honk! runs for an interval-free 75 minutes and the young performers show they have learnt a lot about staging musicals in rehearsals. In Warts and All, for example, a number featuring a bullfrog and froglets, jumps become part of the dance.