Tonight, Charlie and I took Henry and Eliza to the York Theatre Royal to watch the Ugly Duckling. This was a new adaptation by Olivier Award-nominated Emma Reeves of Hans Christian Andersen’s much-loved tale and staged by Leeds based company, tutti frutti.
We rushed to York for 6pm and were not to be disappointed. The kids were really excited as we were ushered into the intimate Studio Theatre. The actors walked round chatting to the audience, particularly the kids, which was really nice. The scene was simple, clearly depicting the nest at the edge of the pond whilst the baby ducklings wait impatiently for Mummy’s enormous egg to hatch. However, what emerges, doesn’t look like them, act like them or even quack like a duckling. Christened Ugly and teased by his siblings, our hero goes on an adventure to find where he fits in.
The scenery moves seamlessly and realistically with the seasons bringing to life this well-known tale as Ugly explores and struggles to find where he really does belong. The children were absolutely captivated, lost in the story and their imaginations.
There is a variety of mischievous animals, which the children loved and immediately recognised. They are depicted perfectly by the 3 actors through inventive acting and dress. There is some great live music, singing and clever lighting which compliments the story, characters and enables the production to be brought to life. The music and singing was fantastic with Eliza (not yet 3) dancing along!
It is not just something for the children to enjoy, there are strong themes running through the production which all adults can relate to. The importance of identity, self-worth and discovery of inner beauty are all explored.
The production was 55 minutes long which was the perfect length and left you wanting more. A thoroughly enjoyable, perfectly pitched, production that both children and adults enjoyed. .
Afterwards, there was the chance to meet the cast, featuring Danny Childs, Daniel Naddafy and Maeve Leahy, who were charming and engaging. There was also a colouring table set up for the children to colour their own eggs for the basket and or to take home. This was a massive hit with Henry and Eliza!
tutti frutti are running a members club to help deliver fantastic theatre to children nationally.
The Ugly Duckling runs at York Theatre Royal from 28 September to 14 October before touring until February 2018. It is well worth a trip to the theatre, both you and your children will not be disappointed.
For children aged 3+ and their families
Tickets £12 adults and £7 under 16s
Box office 01904 623568
The photos are courtesy of Brian Slater Photography
We attended on Friday 29th September