A THEATRICAL society has received a good luck message from the writers behind their latest production.

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George Stiles and Anthony Drewe contacted the Letchworth Arcadians to wish them well for Honk! - a musical adaptation written by the pair which is based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale The Ugly Duckling.

The show, being performed at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage, is a family-friendly musical comedy which tells the story of Ugly, whose odd, gawky looks instantly incite prejudice from his family and neighbours.

Mocked on the farmyard and pursued by the ever-hungry cat, Ugly finds himself lost and on an adventure to find his mother.

The show was written by George and Anthony, who were also behind West End musicals Mary Poppins and Betty Blue Eyes, in 1993 and first performed at a theatre in Newbury.

Writing to the Arcadians, George said: “In those days, it had an orchestra of one (me, on several nights when the pianist was struck down with the flu) and a cast of eight adults and four children. Now, I think the biggest cast to date has been 80, with over 7000 productions and six million people having seen it or performed in it.

“We are so pleased that a show with a simple message about tolerance and the celebration of difference has found an audience around the world. It also makes us happy that there seems to be a rediscovery of musical comedy around the world. It’s what we have always written, and when we began it wasn’t really in vogue – so perhaps it’s also a lesson in biding your time and sticking with what you believe in.”

The Letchworth Arcadians production will be directed by David Walker, with Graham Albone as musical director and Frances Aylin as the choreographer.

The youngest member of the cast, seven-year-old Neve Murdoch from Letchworth GC, said: “I can’t wait to show everyone the dances I’ve learned with all my new friends and I feel lucky to be in the show as not all children get the chance to do something like this.”

Evening performances of Honk! run from Wednesday, May 2, to Saturday, May 5, at 7.30pm. A matinee performance will also be held on Saturday at 2.30pm.

Tickets are £16 or £14.50 concessions and are available on 01438 363200 or by visiting www.gordon-craig.co.uk

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