The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
December 28, 29 [+mat] 2001 – January 3, 4 & 5 [+mat] 2002.
Music by George Stiles
Book & Lyrics by Anthony Drewe
Pete Winstone – Ugly
Jo Hopper – Ida
Adrian Kenward – Cat
Dan Newman – Drake, Barnacles, Bruv Swan
Derek Fraser – Turkey. Greylag, Dad Swan, Farmer
Hazel Starns – Maureen, Queenie, Snowy, Penny
Jane Richards – Henrietta, Lowbutt, Dot, Mute Swan
Jan King – Grace, Pinkfoot, Old Woman
Tony Muzzall – Bullfrog
Joe Mott – Swotty Duckling, Boy
Ellie Infield – Stroppy Duckling, Girl
Olivia Robinson – Bossy Duckling
Tom Cullen – Cocky Duckling
Charlotte Kenward – Tomboy Duckling
Imogen Chalk – Tiny Duckling
Katalin Szeless Piano
Bob Ryder Guitar
Hugh Hemmings Keyboard
Jonathan Dawes Drums
Musical Director – Katalin Szeless
Choreography – Cherry Briggs
Choreography – Adrian Kenward
Choreography – Tony Muzzall
Choreography – Rols Ham-Roche
Consultant Choreographer – Wendy Whatling
Publicity – Rosemary Bouchy
Lighting – Mike Medway
Sound – Simon Snelling
Stage Managers – Marc Lewis
Stage Managers – David Comber
Properties – Margaret Davy
Properties – Sue Whittaker
Properties – Judith Berrill
Properties – Rols Ham-Riche
Design – Rols Ham-Riche
Set Building / Painting / Design – Marc Lewis
Set Building / Painting / Design – David Comber
Set Building / Painting / Design – Dave Collis
Set Building / Painting / Design – Mark Flower
Set Building / Painting / Design – Mike Davy
Set Building / Painting / Design – Brian Box
Set Building / Painting / Design – Sheila Neesham
Set Building / Painting / Design – Cherry Briggs
Photography – Lucien Bouchy
Window Display – Rosemary Brown
Front of House Co-ordinator – Valerie Bray
Programme Note #1: Honk!
R H-R wrote: “Welcome to the Wick’s Christmas production of Honk!. This wonderful musical, telling the story of the Ugly Duckling, was written in 1993 and hatched at the Watermill Theatre, Newbury under the title The Ugly Duckling or the Aesthetically Challenged Farmyard Fowl. A revised version appeared in 1997 at Alan Ayckbourn’s Steven Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. This was directed by Julia Mackensie [Guys & Dolls, Fresh Fields] and was now called Honk! Its quality was recognised when it won ‘Best New Musical’ at the 2000 Olivier Awards and was revived at the National Theatre for a sell out season. Early this year the National embarked on a tour with Tracey Bennett [Coronation Street] and Ida and Norman Pace [Hale & Pace] as Drake.
Our production is the first time a full-scale version of Honk! has been seen in Sussex. It is perhaps the biggest and certainly the most technically and musically challenging show Wick has ever tackled. Thank you for coming to see Honk! and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to this huge team effort.
This is the ultimate family show – starring a mother and daughter, an uncle and niece and two unhatched ducklings! Enjoy”
Publicity #1: Honk!
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: December 20 2001 issue – page 4
Text Header: “There once was an Ugly ducking …. in Honk!
Sub Header: “Cooking up a real surprise”
WICK Theatre Company’s choice for Christmas is endearingly different – a musical with the magical touch based on the Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Anderson. Honk! won the Olivier “Best New Musical” award in 2000 and was performed in the West End to rave reviews.
This tale of farmyard folk promises to be a post-Christmas treat for the family. It is directed by Rols-Ham Riche, who has gathered a cast of Wick’s finest, some appearing in several guises, plus a clutch of talented kinds. [sic] Musical direction is in the hand of Kati Szeless.
What a furore in the farmyard when Ugly emerges from his enormous egg! He’s ridiculed by his brothers and sister and other farmyard inhabitants. No one loves poor Ugly – except his mum and the wicket cat, who fancies duckling for dinner. Ugly escapes, only to get lost. He then meets up with some colourful characters on his wanderings in the cold, winter. But will the duckling hero win through?
The cast includes Peter Winstone as Ugly, Jo Hopper as his mum and Adrian Kenward, the cat. Other actors, most of them well known faces at the Barn, are Derek Fraser, Jane Richards, Hazel Starns, Jan King, Dan Newman and Anthony Muzzall. Playing the family of ducklings are Joe Mott, Tom Cullen, Olivia Robinson, Charlotte Kenward, Ellie Infield and Imogen Chalk.
Honk will be performed at the Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre, Southwick, on December 28 and 29, January 3, 4 and 5, at 7.45pm. There are 2.30 pm matinees on December 29 and January 5. For more information, telephone the box office: 01273 597094.
Review #1: Honk!
Publication Data: Jan 3 2002 issue – page 11
Reviewer: Michelle Nevell
Text Header: “Don’t miss ugly night out!”
Fed up with pantomimes full of anonymous Australian actors and cartoon characters? Then you should have been among the audience at Wick Theatre Company’s production of Honk! A musical re-working of the classic Ugly Duckling story and this production was the first full-scale version to be put on in Sussex. With a terrific ensemble cast, plenty of songs, a dastardly villain and the worst marmalade joke ever, it was the perfect family evening out at the Barn Theatre, Southwick Street, Southwick.
The story starts with Ida [Jo Hopper], a proud mother, waiting for all her eggs to hatch. One of the eggs is a little bit bigger than the others, and, when it finally hatches, out comes Ugly [Peter Winstone]. Poor old Ugly is the duck who cannot quack: instead, he just says Honk! And all his brother and sisters don’t like him either. What makes matters worse is that his only friend appears to be the evil cat [Adrian Kenward] who would like to have him for lunch!
All of the cast delivered first-rate performances, whether singing as a group or individually. The children will have loved some of the characters, particularly the Bullfrog [Tony Muzzall] and the scenes acted out between Ugly and the Cat. Some highly impressive feline tap dancing was also worth watching out for.
Wick Theatre Company and producer Rols Ham-Riche should be congratulated for delivering another first-class production – definitely a swan, not a load of old quackers!
Review #2: Honk!
Publication: Wick Newsletter
Publication Data: January 2002
Reviewer: Rosemary Brown
A Poultry Tale of folks down on the farm – ducks, farmyard fowl, cats and other country creatures populated a fairy tale land to delight and entertain an audience. The tale of the Ugly Duckling can come as a surprise to people who really only know it from the song. This play was a combination of Hans Christian Andersen [why no credits to him I wonder?] and Anthony Drewe bringing to life the lesser known details plus some imaginative additions.
The baby ducklings stole the show. I have rarely seen such well disciplined and happy looking children on stage! They all knew their words and were unfailingly cheerful. I should have hated to have them as siblings! Imogen’s yawns just added to the delight! Well done all concerned.
Ugly [Peter Winstone] carried the central rôle with charm and innocent enjoyment. His smile never failed him, even as he was being loaded into the Aga to be the cat’s dinner – did he really not know his fate?!! Adrian as the Cat was pure evil and insinuation. I would have liked to see lots more tap dancing though! Tony Muzzall’s Bullfrog was a gem; a lovely performance, thank you Tony. Jo Hopper’s Ida and Dan Newman’s Drake also held their rôles well as the parents of such an unusual brood. Hazel Starns was brilliant in all her rôles, Queenie especially.
The whole cast was required to be very versatile and active throughout the show. Quick changes of both costume and character were demanding and successfully achieved by all the small company. I would have thought that a larger company could have been used just as effectively; to see the same face in different rôles can add to the audience’s confusion.
There was indeed some confusion to the story line. The cast all knew who they were, but if the audience is unsure it can hinder their full appreciation of the piece! What kind of fowl, for instance, is dressed in Tartan and speaks with a Scottish accent? What kind of duck is green? Or was she a moorhen? This was, unfortunately, often the result of poor diction or projection in the singing. The mikes were not ideally placed for all the singers; I don’t like them much, but I did wonder if a few radio mikes might have made the difference. I also felt that the orchestra’s position, right across the front of the stage, served to drown out some of the voices. A good attempt was, nonetheless, made at a very ambitious score.
The costuming was interesting, colourful and imaginative. But, in the interest of ensuring that the audience understands the plot line, I felt there was something lacking in the depiction of animals as human. I would have liked the cat, for instance, to have had a tail, or ears, just to clarify his character. [My elderly companion did not realise he was a cat.]
The set was delightfully decorated with bulrushes and irises, and the kitchen set was straight out of pantomime! Other notable points of the production were the magnificent snow scene, Adrian and Hazel’s ‘cat duet’, the flying routine – I just loved the air stewardess. The row of eggs, with the giant one in the middle and the image of Derek as a frog will remain for quite a while. The music was rousing and enjoyable, with the usual romance and pathos thrown in. Well done to all the cast, and the production team for a good show.
This was a very enjoyable Christmas entertainment, well worth the visit. It was a pity that the audiences did not reflect the quality of the performances.