As usual we were running late and being given a lift to the Sherman Theatre as it was our first visit and I wasn’t sure about the parking situation, we ran inside and were taken up to the balcony, it was less disruptive because the show had started already, and my little ones would rather sit with me anyway.
Once we had settled ourselves and started watching the story unfold the other ducklings were already being a little bit mean to the poor ugly duckling as he honked sadly, my youngest then started asking questions and it occurred to me that I can’t remember reading The Ugly Duckling to my children before, I don’t know why since it was one of my favourites growing up, but it’s all about the Gruffalo’s Child and Funny Bones in our house these days.
What stood out to me at first was how gentle the lighting was, and how the stage area was very compact but being used effectively, we were taken on a journey with The Ugly Duckling which actually made me feel quite emotional at times (reminding me of lonely times in my life maybe? Sigh…) this meant that none of the smaller children in the audience were startled or over whelmed, and even though it was gentle enough for them my eldest didn’t take her eyes off the story either. I think my little one’s favourite part of the show was when the hunting dog came along, this part certainly raised a few laughs and “silly doggy” comments. Also the eldest child likes a bit of toilet humour so when the duckling tried to lay an egg and wind appeared I heard plenty of giggles!
The three performers in The Ugly Duckling Iwan Charles, Anni Dafydd and Gwenllian Higginson, did a fantastic job of providing us with an engaging, funny and touching performance, I personally really enjoyed the show and so did both of my children, and even as a proper grown up (I must be with two children and bills to pay right?) I can honestly say I was very impressed at the way the story was told with few costume changes and mostly static props being used in imaginative ways.
As winter drew in and the little ugly duckling became colder and more lonely the room went quiet, even the toddlers that were pottering about seemed to still with the gentle music, and that was another brilliant aspect of the show, the music and lighting really set the mood and helped the story move along smoothly. I didn’t see any children being taken outside for getting too restless and noticed the smiles the swans gave to some of the smaller children who wandered up for a closer look. The final scenes as the ugly duckling transforms, were mesmerising, the look on the transformed duckling’s face was lovely, and the conclusion left me feeling all happy inside, and those balloons! Where do I get those?!
The Sherman Theatre clearly know how to put on a show and certainly catered for the younger audience with this production. From the relaxed layout and intimate room, to the gentle but very effective music and lighting and of course fantastic acting on display, I don’t think anyone was disappointed with The Ugly Duckling, I didn’t know what to expect, but was very pleasantly surprised indeed.
When talking to the children later on I tried to cement the moral of the story it went like this-
“….And he wasn’t an ugly duckling at all was he?”
“No Mummy! He was a MAN!”
We did get there in the end but that made me laugh!
I didn’t get to try out the food at The Sherman Theatre this time but the menu looked very inviting and when we visit again (which we definitely will) I will report back my findings, the toilets were immaculate though, you will be pleased to hear, and even had those snazzy Dyson hand dryers that kids love.
*Tickets were provided for review purposes.