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Events

The Cast

Ugly - Georgia Smith
Ida - Lucy Beeton
Drake - Dominic King
Beaky - Jess Garland
Billy - Kia Long
Fluff - Abbie-Louise Smith
Downy: Lucy White
Maureen - Katy Beeton
The Cat - Sophie Sharp
The Turkey - Bertie Ellison
Henrietta: Millie Steer
Greylag - Cameron Lewis
Dot - Ellie Fradley
Barnacles: Philippa Macfarlane
Snowy: Georgia Smith
Pinkfoot: Aeryn Nicholls
Grace: Abby Gosling
The Bullfrog: Maddie Kent
Penny: Tiggie Ellison
Father Swan: Ethan Robinson
Mother Swan: Georgia Smith
Bewick: Kyle Elflett
Maggie Pie: Lucy Bearpark

Flying Squad

Jacob Elliott, Bertie Ellison, Ethan Robinson and Tiggie Ellison

Tapping Frogs

Alice Armstrong, Ellen Betts, Katie Hicklin, Philippa Macfarlane, Aeryn Nicholls and Ella Webb
Boy - Cerys Brooks
Girl - Ella Webb

Other Poultry and Froglets

Skye Ironside, Lucy Armstrong, Erin Aubrey-Jones, Cerys Brooks, Daisy Catton, Ellie Cox, Martha Elliott, Olivia Merritt, Calleigh Steele and Hannah Webb


The Crew

Director - Andy Prior
Musical Director - Mike Cooke
Choreographer - Penny Cooke
Stage Manager - Steve Brooks
Set Designer - Hugh Pearce
Lights and Sound - Chris Scott
Wardrobe - Eileen Cook and Leslie Judd
Prompt - Pippa Lacey
Technical Assistant - Aimee Rutherford
Regular Assistants - Amy Sims, Jane Pearce and Jane Wallace
Box Office and Front of House - Members of the Watlington Players


NODA Review

THE WATLINGTON  PLAYERS

 Honk Jr.

DIRECTOR
 Andy Prior

MUSICAL DIRECTOR
Mike Cooke

CHOREOGRAPHER
Penny Cooke

VENUE
Watlington Village Hall

DATE
Saturday April 5th 2014

If I understand things correctly last years junior production of Snow White and Horrible Histories was the inaugural outing for
this newly formed group, and a cracking effort it was. Clearly this has now been installed as a yearly fixture and I was excited to see how they had improved especially as this year’s cast seemed to contain most of the major juvenile talent that this inclusive group possess. It was George Stiles and Anthony Drewe's retelling of the Ugly Duckling, Honk! But the junior version and as I took my seat at Watlington Village Hall there seemed to be a good sized audience sitting with me.

The set was simple enough, with a design by Hugh Pearce that did everything it needed to do. Steve Brooks had the job of Stage Manager and proved to be a steady hand at the wheel with everything running smoothly, at least as far as I could see. Lighting was perfectly adequate and the costumes, whilst not spectacular made it quite clear who was who regarding farmyard poultry.

As I have come to expect at this venue, the chorus were enthusiastic and looked to be in all the right places at all the right times. A special mention for members of the flying squad and the tapping frogs who did a great job in each of their respective bits. The cast was so extensive for this production that it would be impractical for even me to mention everyone so I will just focus on those who deserve extra special merit with no slight intended to everyone else. Of the supporting cast I especially enjoyed Cameron Lewis as Squadron Leader Greylag who had a nice touch with the comedy and Maddy Kent as the Bullfrog. In addition there was nice work from Georgina Smith as Snowy; Aeryn Nicholls as Pinkfoot and Abby Gosling (No really !) as Grace, topped of with a good characterisation from Lucy Bearpark as roaming reporter Maggie Pie.

In the lead roles Dominic King worked hard as Drake, struggling just a bit with the songs,  I don’t know if he had been effected by the throat issues that had engulfed this cast and were especially evident in the usually beautiful voice of Lucy Beeton cracking a little on the higher notes. She still managed to turn in another great performance as mother duck Ida, made all the more spectacular when I found out just how badly both the Beetons had been struggling. Katy B also did a great job as chicken mother Maureen with a nice cameo from Millie Steer as Matriarch Henrietta and Bertie Ellison as The  Turkey.

Penultimate paragraph honours are shared this time round, between Sophie Sharp as the extremely feline Cat, who delivered some of the best comedy lines to great impact and to Georgina Steer as Ugly, that poor little duckling who just looked completely confident with her lines and delivered a winning characterisation that drew you to her, and to the show. The “Play With Your Food” sung by Miss Sharp and featuring them both was one of the many highlights.

My compliments to Director Andy Prior for a nice piece of theatre, building impressively on last year’s debut with a major slap on the back for Musical Director Mike Cooke and Choreographer Penny Cooke for getting such a big cast to sing together and to be all facing the same way when they did. This newly formed youth group will be a force to be reckoned with if they continue to pick good material, and maintain their rapid improvement.

Stephen Hayter
(District Representative – Eastern Region, District 4 North)

Honk Jr