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Review: Northern Ballet’s Ugly Duckling at York Theatre Royal

Northern Ballet’s adaptation of Ugly Duckling is the perfect way to introduce youngsters to the beauty of ballet and live theatre. Having been on CBeebies, I knew the company would be good and they didn’t disappoint.


We watched the performance at Theatre Royal in York. I’ve never been here before and it was a wonderful place! All seating is tiered (even in the stalls) and our seats in the dress circle gave us a brilliant view of both the stage and the pit. It was fantastic to be able to see the instruments behind the music and my son enjoyed spotting which instrument was playing which sound.


During the show the music, costumes, set, dancing and acting were all spectacular and resulted in a spell-bound audience. My youngest was on the edge of her seat at various points, especially when the ducklings were throwing the egg around! There was a good amount of humour in the show to keep everybody giggling alongside the emotion and drama (the frogs were a particular favourite for us!)

Ugly Duckling advertises itself as suitable for age 2+ and I think it fit the bill (sorry!) perfectly. A lot of thought has gone into ensuring that this performance is accessible for all ages. You are provided with a copy of the story and an activity sheet to keep the little ones entertained while you wait for the show to start which I thought was a lovely touch. At 40 minutes, the performance is short enough to ensure that wriggly bottom syndrome doesn’t appear but long enough to do the story justice. Similarly, adults and older children, prepare to be astounded too as this certainly isn’t a show that just the youngest kids will enjoy. There is so much talent to appreciate.

Ugly Duckling is touring all the way up to 1st May and would be the perfect Easter treat for all the family. It’s a thumbs up from us.


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