Theatre: The truth about swans and ducks
HONK! THE UGLY DUCKLING NT OLIVIER LONDON
Saturday 18 December 1999
. This very upmarket panto - directed with exhilarating vim, bounce and impeccable timing by Julie McKenzie - is a lot more fun than Ibsen's Wild Duck or TV's The Bill, ducky and, as you can see, its determination to get in every animal pun imaginable is catching. Set on a giant bullrush- fringed pond, Honk! pulls off the considerable trick of delighting children and winking wickedly at adults simultaneously.
The outrageous bits were more to my taste than the faintly sanctimonious numbers where we were assured of every creature's right to be different, as though we were at a concert by Barbra Streisand (whose films are a continual re-make of this story). The bits where the show hits sublimety are those involving Jasper Britton's brilliantly funny Cat, who definitely puts the purr in pervey with his Salvador Dali whiskers, spats, pin-stripes and distinctly dubious liking for young duck flesh. ("The macrame classes seem to have paid off," he camply insinuates on encountering Ugly trapped in a giant net). And one's feathers stand on end with joy when David Burt's grinning bespectacled Bullfrog (a cross between Christopher Biggins and Max Miller) officiates at a bullfrog dance routine that brings on the whole cast in tight-fitting pond-life outfits.
In rep, 0171-452 3000. A version of this review appeared in later editions of yesterday's newspaper
'At times I thought he was me'film
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 2 Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
- 3 Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Christmas 2014: The three most intriguing celebrity panto appearances
Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Beyonce '7/11' music video: Star bounces on bed and films daughter Blue Ivy in lo-fi homage to viral video
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage from Lana Del Rey rape video
Claudia Winkleman returns to Strictly Come Dancing as daughter recovers from Halloween fire accident
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'