Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Honk!"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


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note: entire contents copyright 2002 by Bob Guenthner


Reviewed by The Old Grump


music by George Stiles
book & lyrics by Anthony Drews
director Hollis Welch Sullivan - musical director Valerie Schleppi
choreographer Karen L. Andrews - costumer - Val Verge
technical director William Rauworth - asst. tech director Lawrence Hutchenson
lighting design Larry Devlin - production assistant Christine Barklay
Set design William Rauworth - asst. music director Christopher Holownia

This was my first time going to the Regis College theater. It is steep, each row on a separate level, but with a convenient railing down the center of the aisles. My guess would be a seating of around 700. Wide, but not to deep, giving even the back row a good view.

I saw Honk when it played at North Shore Music Theatre last year, and enjoyed it. When I received an invitation to see this children's version, I sort of cringed. Seeing a bunch of kids stumbling and fumbling around making noise, is not my idea of fun. I know every parent believes that their child is another Judy Garland or Mickey Rooney [ I know that dates me ]. The very first number changed my mind. During the number it became apparent that this would be a giant step above the normal young peoples show. I believe the cast were sixth through ninth graders, not babies, but not very old.

The Ugly Duckling story is know to most of us. From the time we are five or six years old we had read, or saw it on TV many, many times. The hatching of the ducklings from large eggs was nice. When Ugly hatched,[ Miles Jacoby ], out popped a nerdy, loose limbed, but agile young man, who kept the audience laughing at his antics. His way of walking cracked me up.

The sinister cat was played by T. J. Rufo, and believe me, he was sinister.

The mother duck, Ida [ Annelise Wiersema ], had a lovely voice. Her bio has her entering the ninth grade, you could have fooled me. If I was told that she was in college, I would have nodded my head.

The Warts and All song, had the "froglets" dressed in green suits, with green swim flippers. A show stopper all the way.

The Blizzard song followed. It had everyone in white outfits, with some of the girls spinning white parasols. Dancing spotlights added to the allusion of a winter storm.

Transformation is the number that followed. In it, our gangly Ugly is transformed into a handsome swan, replete in white tux, becoming a smoothy in the process

Everything about the show pleased me. From the kids on stage, to the costumes and scenery, to the excellent professional orchestra, they all had a hand in showing me a good time. This was the opening performance, and was surprisingly free from mess-ups. There are over fifty children in the cast. I don't know how they managed to herd this gaggle on and off stage without any disastrous pile ups.

The parking is more than enough, and the directions from Rt. 30 are clear. You should have no trouble finding the theater.

"Honk!" (22 - 27 July)
Regis College Fine Arts Center,235 Wellesly Street. WESTON MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide