Honk! is a musical adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story The Ugly Duckling, incorporating a theme of pro-tolerance.

The book and lyrics are by Anthony Drewe and music is by George Stiles (of the British songwriting duo Stiles and Drewe). Aimed primarily at children and their parents, the musical is set in the countryside (originally “a backwater of England”, although American productions usually relocate this to the U.S.).

The story features Ugly, a duckling who discovers his inner beauty when he becomes a swan, his tearful mother Ida, a drake who “ducks” his fatherly responsibilities, a gaggle of comical geese, a sly, french tomcat who wants to befriend Ugly so he can eat him, a wisecracking bullfrog, and other barnyard creatures, together with a great many “fowl” puns.

Cast & Creative

Cast List

Character Actor
Ugly Andy Clarke
Ida Lizzy Ross
The Cat Bryan Cardus
Drake Jim Trimmer
Greylag Carl Smith
Dot Deb McDowell
Maureen Janet Simpson
Queenie Sue Astbury
Lowbutt Karen Prior
Bullfrog Loz Keal
Turkey Chris Morris
Penny Clare Smith
Grace Lynne Shirley
Henrietta Susan M Sworn
Jackie Daw Robbin Pearce
Barnacles Gary Sherwood
Pinkfoot Robbin Pearce
Snowy Mike Bradbury
Mother Swan Zoe Harvey Lee
Father Swan Matthew Stainer
Billy Tim Parish
Fluff Sylvie Barlow
Beaky Caroline Hayes
Downy Sian Walters

Creative Team

Role Name
Director Clare Henderson-Roe
Musical Director Nick Sanders
Choreographer Edz Barrett
Production Manager Clair Williams
Stage Manager Eric Williams
Lighting Designer Ed Pagett
Sound Design David Gibbs
Set Design Wesley Henderson Roe
Wardrobe Zoe Harvey Lee
Front of House Alan O'Shea
Hair Wigs and Make-up Louise Turnbull

Reviews & Awards

SWAN Awards

  • Winner SWAN Award Best performer in a musical – Bryan Cardus
  • Nominated SWAN Award Best supporting male performer in a musical – Loz Keal
  • Nominated SWAN Award Best performer in a musical – Lizzy Ross

Mark Aspen - Richmond & Twickenham Times

What a quacker of a show! Whoops, sorry, mustn’t do that! For puns per square inch, Honk is already top of the pecking order. And as librettist Anthony Drewe’s musical is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic, The Ugly Duckling, the puns are awfully ornithological. For its first production this season BROS has taken wing and migrated to ACT, the new Arthur Cotterell Theatre in Kingston, where the combination of Wesley Henderson Roe’s set and Edward Pagett’s lighting created a shimmering blue lake next to a muddy farmyard. Here Ugly and his four siblings emerge from their eggs, the pride of mother duck Ida but to the mixed feelings of Drake, energetically played by Jim Trimmer. Most of the farmyard animals, such as Maureen the moorhen (Janet Simpson) and Turkey (Chris Morris) are repelled by Ugly, but the aristocratic mandarin duck, Grace (Lynne Shirley) is more diplomatic.

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