Friday, 9 October 2015

Review: The Ugly Duckllng.

The Ugly Duckling at The Neville Studio (Nottingham Playhouse) may be a short and sweet production but the results for the children performing may have positive effects lasting for their whole lives.

In collaboration with Combat Bullying and Nottingham Playhouse this production brings together a fifteen strong group of 6-14 year olds (many of whom have never been on a stage) who have suffered from bullying. Directed by Nikki Disney the piece takes Hans Christian Anderson's classic tale of the new born ugly looking bird that is constantly picked on and practically left for dead on occasion. The children bring the story to life through dance and movement and each child gets an opportunity to assist Hans (Bradley Price) put together his story surrounded by a set of gigantic children's story books. The bird struggles on with its sad existence and cruel taunts from the other birds. The children are cleverly costumed in black clothes with white text from The Ugly Duckling as the patterning. Their ordinary school clothes are also worn by some to bring home the contemporary nature of the story's relevance.

Eventually the duckling (played by various children) grows up and sees a flock of beautiful swans. Sensing the same potential in itself  it wants to be near to them. As it sits on the water it is suddenly aware of its own beautiful and strong self through reflection. It is no longer a picked on duckling but a beautiful strong bird – a majestic swan.

With a packed and supportive audience on its opening night it is important not to underestimate the value of the creative and emotionally strengthening experience for these children. As little Hugo Waring (Duckling) aged 6 confidently says in the programme “I can't wait for my school to come and see it.”

This reviewer can do no better than to finish off with another quote from one of the participants Sophie Basra aged 13 - “Hopefully, our production of The Ugly Duckling at the Playhouse will make people realise how harmful and hurtful bullying can be.”

The Ugly Ducking runs at The Neville Studio until Saturday 10th October.

Combat Bullying "One in 10 children bullied at school have attempted to commit suicide, a further 30% go on to self-harm."

No comments: