WHAT a feather in the Arches' cap this is.
A lively new version of Andersen's much-loved story that's written and directed by Andy Manley, designed by Shona Reppe and brought on-stage by Catherine Wheels.
This is seriously a high-end team, with the awards to prove it. Not that any of the young audience will know (or care) that Manley got his own wings, so to speak, earlier this year when he picked up a Bank of Scotland Herald Archangel at the Fringe. Aged three and over, they're interested in THAT duckling. Yes, him. The one that looks like a young Eric Morecambe with horn-rimmed specs, drably dressed from head (a grey balaclava) to toe and with his bare knees poking out gawkily from under his school shorts. You'd probably body-swerve him in the playground.
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The other ducklings – wittily regimented lines of wee yellow plastic bath ducks that pop up all over the set – soon have him sussed: he's different and they don't want him around.
Our outcast (Laurie Brown) knows he doesn't fit in. No-one else moves to groove when The Hustle comes on the sound-system... in time, he'll get to swan it on the dance-floor. But before then, there are adventures and lucky escapes. Encounters with a fashionista pooch and a couple of urban foxes, each critter engagingly charactered by the versatile supporting cast of Gill Robertson and Veronica Leer.
The picturesque modular set whisks us from farmyard to city and then disco-haven. The action is by turns hilarious, charming, scary, touching – and Brown's duckling is just the perfect fit for this captivating treat of a show.