Honk play critique

Ida laments about what it's like to lose one of your children "Every Tear a Mother Cries". Ida, despite even her dissolute husband, Drake, joining in the bullying of Ugly, loves her freaky chick, but when she is distracted by a French bread treat, Ugly is drawn away by a duplicitous cat and so spends a year trying to get back to his family, while his mother searches in vain.

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It finally hatches to reveal Ugly. Penny, knowing Ugly is a swan, invites him to migrate with her, but Ugly insists that he can't.

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Ugly happily accepts their apology and introduces Penny. As Ugly tries and fails to "quack," he realises he isn't the same as the others "Different". As the Cat notices Ugly is not a duck but a swan, he goes insane before running away in defeat "Melting Moggy". A farmer has caught him for his family's Sunday roast. Drake believes one huge egg is a turkey's egg, but Ida is doubtful. That lightness of touch is hard to pull off great credit to director Andy Room whose steady hand maintains the right tone and should be treasured in a world where the old maxim that "Bullies never prosper" is getting harder and harder to stand up. Just as the Cat is about to strike, the children playing outside send a ball flying through the window, hitting the Cat and causing him to fall into the pot.

Though there's a touch too much sentimentality for my taste and a slightly off-message conclusion that the meek shall inherit the earth - but only if they are beautiful - Honk! Ida is initially shocked but is overjoyed that the new arrival is not a turkey.

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They too make fun of him not only for his looks but also for not being of "their sort" "It Takes All Sorts". The seven strong cast of actor-musicians, backed up by Oli Rew's excellent band, do a fine job, but the emotional heart of the tale is carried by Ellie Nunn as the forsaken mother and Liam Vincent Kilbridge as the lost cygnet.

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