Ducktastic

International Herald Tribune, 26 October 2005
By Matt Wolf

"Ducktastic," at the Albery Theatre, is a shambles, but at least it's a genial enough one. Taken on its own merits, this self-described "comedy spectacular" consists of skits that don't so much end as simply stop with the line, "that, ladies and gentleman, is ducktastic!"

What, you ask, is "Ducktastic"? Good question. On the most obvious level, it's the follow-up by the comedians Hamish McColl and Sean Foley to their earlier West End hit, "The Play What I Wrote." But whereas that show drew for its inspiration from the British comedy duo of Ernie Wise and Eric Morecambe, this latest takes as a starting point those popular Las Vegas illusionists Siegfried and Roy. Not to mention a parade of ducks that can at least keep the West End warm until the Donmar's December revival of Ibsen's masterwork, "The Wild Duck."

"Ducktastic" has no such aspirations, as might be gleaned from a script that goes heavy on bastardized song titles and rhetorical questions along the lines of, "Does badness defile me, or does goodness gracious me?" Someone says, "my name is Donna Spring," to which someone else replies, "I know your sister, Donna Summer." There's a narrative after a fashion, but in this context, who cares? You'll either succumb to the humor, as the pedigree director Kenneth Branagh has clearly done, or you won't.


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