I should probably start this review by letting you know that Faceplant Theatre’s show One Duck Down, that is currently playing as part of The Vaults Festival is one of the best children’s shows I’ve ever seen. If you don’t get any further than this paragraph, please take with you the fact that One Duck Down is just utterly brilliant in every way. End of.
But, I should probably elaborate on this shouldn’t I? One Duck Down is a delightful children’s show that aims to entertain and educate children about the damage pollution is doing to our oceans and the wonderful creatures that live there. Inspired by the story of 7000 rubber ducks that fell into the ocean and scattered all over the globe (which was featured in BBC’s Blue Planet II), the show follows a young boy called Billy whose disinterested love interest sets him the challenge of sailing across the world to find these yellow duckies.
Writers Alice Bounce, Maxwell Tyler and Owen Jenkins cleverly weave together Billy’s adventures with important messages about global warming, dumping plastics and recycling, but don’t for one minute think this show is preachy. Instead, Faceplant Theatre introduce the audience to a smorgasbord of utterly brilliant characters including; Alberto, a vain and opera loving Albatross, Scuzzie the rock ‘n’ roll loving Polar Bear and pirates in training Norman and Leslie who are having one hell of a first day. Each character is brought to life by catchy tunes and fun dance routines that have the kids singing and giggling along. Bounce, Tyler and Jenkins have expertly trod that fine line between self-awareness to entertain adults and silliness without being patronising for young ones.
The true joy of One Duck Down is its hopefulness. The message that there is still time to save the planet is delivered with such sincerity and heart it’s impossible not to fall in love with all these characters. The whole company perform with such gusto and sweetness it’s easy to get swept along out to sea like the ducks in the adventure. My only criticism is that it is a shame more children (and their grown ups!) won’t get to see this show as it truly is an absolutely gem of a show.
Reviewed by Roz Carter