Honk! by York Light Youth
Joseph Rowntree Theatre
Until Sat May 30, 2015
What do you get when you cross York Light Youth, Joseph Rowntree Theatre and Hans Christian Andersen? A damned good evening’s entertainment, that’s what.
I admit to being sceptical – a musical about The Ugly Duckling wasn’t top of my list of shows to see this year, but I’m so glad I went.
The story follows Ugly, an ugly duckling, superbly played by Sam Rippon who gets lost and spends the rest of the show trying to find his way home.
I’ve enjoyed several of Sam’s previous performances in shows like Joseph and South Pacific and tonight was no exception. He has a way of using his whole body to portray a character, and really got across the awkward gangliness of the ugly duckling, especially in scenes where he’s performing next to the graceful ducklings.
One thing I found really refreshing were the costumes. I’d expected feathers galore, but there were none to be seen. Instead the cast wore traditional clothes suited to the characters they played.
Ida, the mother duck portrayed by Charlotte Johnson wore a bright frilly dress with lacy bloomers to represent a mother duck. Lucas Wells’ turkey costume was outstanding, as were his gestures and gobbles, really making his character come to life.
Finn East portrayed a rather debonair if dastardly cat in his tailcoat and spats, the two little tufts of hair deliberately standing to attention making him look like the devil in disguise. He had some clever facial expressions and gestures that really got across the sly character that he was portraying.
I think my favourite costume though has to go to Bull Frog who was brought to life, albeit in cockney fashion by the very talented Ben Greenhough. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to forget that laugh in a hurry.
Wardrobe mistress Kath Walker excelled herself with his outfit, although credit has to go to Ben for such an excellent portrayal of his character. The scene was full of laughter and music and is one of my favourites from the evening.
Another enjoyable scene featured the geese. Sam Lightfoot-Loftus played the lead goose Greylag, with second world war military precision. The comparison between the geese and a flying squadron was hilarious, Bethany-Hannah Winteringham played his equally precise air hostess or co-pilot.
The story is very funny in parts yet carries a serious message for the older audience members, its about bullying and not fitting in.
The audience ranged in age from young children to grandparents with everyone having an excellent time; including the two teenage girls I took along with me.
As always with York Light Youth you can see the hard work from their three months of rehearsals, the sets are professional, the costumes well made and the music and singing flawless.
What I love about these shows is that you can feel the enthusiasm from the cast, they absolutely love performing, and I have to say I do enjoying watching their shows. I understand that they will be performing Cats later this year and that is definitely going on my list of shows to see.
Fear not, you can still get tickets for the final performances on Saturday (May 30) either online or on the door.