The Chronicles of Bitter and Twisted (3 stars)

This article is from 2011.

The Chronicles of Bitter and Twisted

Charming and cheeky fairy tale sequel

A sequel to the classic outsider tale, these chronicles are best suited to the suggested 7+ age range – those younger or more sensitive are likely to find the matters at hand (bullying and exclusion) upsetting, and the several concurrent threads of the story hard to follow.

The action is set around an urban pond, where two lonely bird watchers bond over shared observation of some similarly awkward avian characters: the familiar Ugly Duckling – now a cranky old reclusive ‘celebrity’ of the bird pond and nicknamed ‘Twisted’ – and ‘the one that went the other way’ – a Bitter Duck who’s grown up among cruel, proud swans.

There’s some charming, if at times clunky, puppet work, and a cute and adaptable set whose manipulation unfortunately presents the two performers with some teething problems. While the plot fits into a predictable fairytale mould, it’s told with a dose of cheeky attitude and plenty of contemporary references to appeal to kids and their accompanying adults alike.

Among many character-driven funnies emerges a sweet but slightly garbled message about being different from the crowd, and friendships are forged in the human and bird worlds alike.

Assembly George Square, 623 3030, until 29 Aug (not 15), 11.50am, £7–£8 (£6–£7).

The Chronicles of Bitter and Twisted

  • 3 stars

Everyone knows the story of The Ugly Duckling. A baby duck was small and ugly, scorned by all, but grew into a beautiful swan. Happy Ending. Or was it? Lesser known, is the other story, of a baby swan who was also small and ugly, scorned by all and grew into a… well, a duck. A bitter duck. Using puppets and clowning, this…

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