The Ugly Ducking At The Sherman Theatre Cardiff Review (2019)
Disclosure - we were given press tickets to see the show for the purpose of this review. All opinions are honest and our own.
You will remember that earlier in the week we visited The Sherman Theatre to see their main Christmas offering - The Snow Queen and I mentioned that they also have a show for the younger audience - The Ugly Duckling. Well, on Saturday I went to check it out.
If you haven't visited The Sherman Theatre before, it is a wonderful theatre based in Cathays, Cardiff, only a few minutes walk from the train station. It is such a great venue for children's theatre, the performances are very relaxed and children are encouraged to sit on the floor, you don't need to worry about them making too much noise or getting up from their seats as it is very informal and it makes for a really relaxed experience for parents and children alike. If you haven't taken your little ones to the theatre before, this is definitely the place to start. Funnily enough, we went to see The Ugly Duckling at The Sherman Theatre back in 2014 when the girls were much smaller and Little Boy was just 6 months old, take a look if you want to see how little they were (and how bad my photos were!).
Anyway, back to this year's production! The stage is set with two fluffy yellow chicks and an egg waiting to hatch. The fluffy chicks are gorgeous and cute and it is lovely to watch them explore their new world and find their voices! When the egg hatches, out comes the ugly duckling (Jed O’Reilly). It is clear that he looks very different from his friends and when he finds his voice it is totally different to theirs - a honk rather than a quack! There are lots of giggles and honking from the audience as the children copy the sounds and get into the story!
The poor ugly duckling soon realises that he doesn't fit in and try as he might to be the same as the others, he just can't do it. The ugly duckling's wide eyed innocence and sweet demeanour only serve to make you feel sadder for him as he sets about on his journey out of the nest, on an adventure into the big wide world, trying to find a place to fit in.
He firstly meets a hen and a cat (Mari Beard and Tom Blumberg), who are a funny pair. The hen's huge bottom and funny way of laying eggs brings lots of laughter and energy to the stage, although the ugly duckling is soon told that he isn't any use and that he has to move on.
His journey then takes him to a hunting dog (Mari Beard), who is very self important and also very funny. The children's attention is held very well as the scenes are short, the costumes striking and the humour perfect. There are also some lovely songs which added to the warming atmosphere.
The poor ugly duckling is told once again that he doesn't fit in, but he is so sweet and cute that it isn't overly sad, he just keeps on going until he finally finds a pair of swans who honk just like him and he discovers that he has found his home and friends who like him! It's heartwarming to see him happy and having fun and the message is a positive one - there is plenty to see in the big wide world, and everyone will fit in somewhere.
The show is aimed at children aged 3-6 and is under an hour long with no interval so it is the perfect length for a younger audience. My 8 year old also loved it too and I must say I thought it was wonderful so it really has a wide appeal. It's a show I would recommend to everyone, you can't not love it!
Tickets cost £9.50 and can be booked online here. It is showing until the 31st December 2019, you won't want to miss it. It is also showing in Welsh which is a wonderful opportunity to have you children experience theatre through the welsh language.