Reviews West End & Central Published 19 December 2016

Sing-a-long Review! Duckie at the Southbank Centre

Southbank Centre ⋄ Until 24th December 2017

Maddy Costa’s Christmas sing-a-long review of Le Gateau Chocolat’s Duckie at the Southbank Centre.

Maddy Costa
'So Le Gateau Chocolat came on with a woolly hat and a tatty old coat of brown...' Duckie at the Southbank Centre.

‘So Le Gateau Chocolat came on with a woolly hat and a tatty old coat of brown…’ Duckie at the Southbank Centre.

1: play Danny Kaye’s version of The Ugly Duckling Song
2: Sing along (go on, be silly)

There once was a cabaret singer
with baritone spicy and warm
And the parents who saw his show was for kids
said: get out of town!
How will
this work?
A show for kids?

So Le Gateau Chocolat came on with a woolly hat
and a tatty old coat of brown.

That gorgeous cabaret singer
performed all on his own
but at every moment dogged
by a stern instructor’s voice
saying: dress up right now.
Do this,
do that,
stop messing around.
So he took on every role
from a peacock to a lion
and he made the smaller kids laugh.

But all through the narrative
he touched with such grace
on very potent themes
(picked up by the bigger kids):
the flamingoes were racist,
the elephants homophobic,
and all were body-shaming – but very soon agreed
you’re a very fine singer indeed!

Show tunes? 80s pop? Ah, go on!
But yes – there was even
Four Women by Nina Simone!
reshaped to suit the story!
And the parents said
this is brilliant! Wheeeeeeeeee!

It’s true, he was an ugly duckling
at least the folks he grew up with thought
(for in fact in Black, made for adults, he told
the same story
more glum
and blue
of rejection).

But he’s found, for children, a tone so light
with a daffy way to play
(although a partner would be fun)
And a take-home thought so wise.

Say who’s a major fangirl?
Yes I!
Yes I!

Duckie is on at the Southbank Centre until 24th December 2016. Click here for more details. 


Maddy Costa

Maddy Costa is a writer, dramaturg, researcher into socially engaged/participatory/community arts, daydreamer and fan of dogs. She works in collaboration with other artists/writers, including Andy Field on the Tiny Letter project Criticism and Love, and Mary Paterson and Diana Damian Martin on Something Other and The Department of Feminist Conversations. Things she likes making include zines, prints, spaces for conversation, cakes and 1950s-style frocks. She hosts a pop-up “book group for performance” called Theatre Club where she has all her best conversations about theatre.

Sing-a-long Review! Duckie at the Southbank Centre Show Info

Directed by Tommy Bradson and Flick Ferdinando

Written by Le Gateau Chocolat and Tommy Bradson

Choreography by Mark Smith

Cast includes Le Gateau Chocolat



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