The Duck Pond

Aug 19 2014 | By More

✭✭✭✭✭   A quacking show

Bedlam Theatre (Venue 49) ​Sat 2 – Sun 24 August 2014

An enchanting fairground ride, The Duck Pond, is a cheeky, zesty little number that will delight and surprise.

Tom Coxon and James Bennett with cast of Duck Pond. Photo Aenne Pallasca

Tom Coxon and James Bennett with cast of The Duck Pond. Photo Aenne Pallasca

Set predominantly in an old-fashioned fairground, withWings Theatre Company deliver a delightful and dramatic re-telling of Swan Lake. This version sees Prince Siegfried visiting the fair with his parents for his 21st birthday. As the moon sets he plays the Hook-A-Duck and fishes out Odin: a man by night who is cursed to live as a rubber duck by day. Cheeky and jovial frivolity ensues as Siegfried and Odin’s love story develops.

withWings don’t promise Tchaikovsky or ballet, so something a little bit different is certainly on offer. It’s one hell of a show right from the start, and it certainly delivers, with singing and dancing, candyfloss, fairground rides and audience participation.

wonderful high jinks and cheeky choreography

What the show initally lacks in grace, it makes up for in jollity. Artistic Directors, Helen Kate Lindley and Tom Coxon, create wonderful high jinks and cheeky choreography. The cast are all accomplished dancers, singers and actors and this shines through in both ensemble and solo performances. The delivery of the song, He Hooked a Duck, is a positive gem of physical theatre; both endearing and charming in its ridiculousness.

However, as the production unfolds, it becomes apparent that The Duck Pond is much more than jollity. There are moments of quiet, understated grace that are spellbinding. There are glimmerings of painful beauty that are staggering. There are flashes of trauma and anguish that are painful.

James Bennett plays Siegfried with an initial air of exasperation and awkwardness. He is, in fact, the ugly duckling of the piece becoming a swan through his newfound love. His bursts of giddiness are delightful to watch when he is with Odin, played by Tom Coxon. Coxon is both expressive and magnetic in his portrayal, his anguish and suffering in the latter parts of the production are truly electrifying. It’s the type of magic that makes the hairs stand up on the back of the neck.

The supporting cast are just as expressive. In particular, Izzy Jones’ is haunting and seductive as Odille, while Tom Figgins as Rothbart, the Master of Fair, exudes a hateful bitterness. Ben Maltz-Jones adds a comedic element as Benno.

There is in fact both ballet and Tchaikovsky in this production, delivered exquisitely to heart-breaking and comical effect. This show really is a treasure not to be missed – but be warned: it is as devastating in its climax as it is jovial in its beginning. Herein lies its triumph.

Running time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Bedlam Theatre, 11b Bristo Place, EH1 1EZ (Venue 49)
Sat 2 – Sun 24 August 2014
Daily, 18.00
Full details:
withWings website:


The music from the show is available on withWings bandcamp page. Have a listen.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.