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The boys and I went to watch iTheatre’s latest offering, Hop & Honk, at the Drama Centre Theatre. On until 15 Nov 2014, the story weaves two classic fairytales, The Ugly Duckling and The Frog Prince, into one.

HAH014 LandscapeHiRes

Usually I am wary of theatre companies trying to give their own take on classic stories, but this was done very well. iTheatre extrapolated the story backwards to its origins and gave their take on why the Prince was turned into a frog in the first place, and how the swan’s egg ended up in the duck’s nest. The story flowed smoothly with good pacing, the characters were memorable, the music was generally good, there was lots of humour (with some funny references to local issues that would amuse the adults), and strong performances in particular by Ethel Yap who played Cygna the Ugly Duckling.

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Being ridiculed by her duckling ‘siblings’

The prince before he was transformed into a frog by the witch

The Prince Anura before he was transformed into a frog by the witch

I loved how each group of animals was given a distinct style. The frogs were so hilarious! I loved the entire scene with the frogs. The swans were also so amusing with their funny walks, Cantonese accents, and conceited personalities. After the show the boys and I talked like the frogs and walked the swans just for fun. Interestingly the boys’ favourite character was Herodias. For Asher it was because Herodias was such a strong character and had a great costume to boot, for Ellery because of the pranks played on Herodias!

The Frog Prince looking for his family In the pond

The Frog Prince looking for his family In the pond

Funny frogs!

Funny frogs!

Macey & Lacey the busybody swans

Macey & Lacey the vain and busybody swans

Herodias and his two sidekicks

Herodias and his two sidekicks

The songs were generally okay, but there were some really bright sparks like “Different Worlds” and “Travellers” that were very much in the style of Broadway musicals. We are still bursting into the frog’s “Bubbling Up” song every now and then too just because it’s so catchy! It is in singing that the cast really shone. While some of the cast did not always have the best pronunciation and enunciation, their singing voices could not be faulted. Windson Liong especially surprised me, and I think there’s lots more to his voice than he displayed at this show. The other surprise was Darren Guo. I wasn’t liking his portrayal of the duckling too much, but he proved to be a versatile actor giving a fresh take with each subsequent character, and his acting grew on me.

Cygna & the Frog Prince Anura

Cygna & the Frog Prince Anura

Themes of bullying, self-confidence and self-worth stood out strongly. Bullying has been on my mind lately as Asher approaches primary school. I recently heard stories from friends whose kids encounter bullies in school. I hope he will not meet any bullies, and that if he does he will have the wisdom and confidence to know how to protect himself and when to stand up to the bully. I hope he learns that what people think does not define him and it’s what’s on the inside that matters, just as Cygna discovered for herself.

We really enjoyed the show and I think it’s a show worth catching.

Hop & Honk
Date: 29 October to 15 November 2014
Venue: Drama Centre Theatre, National Library
Recommended for: 4 to 18 year olds and families
Duration: 85 minutes plus 15 minutes interval – TOTAL = 100 minutes approximately

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We were offered three complementary tickets for the show. All opinions are my own.

All pictures courtesy of iTheatre.

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