We are back in Stewarton, Ayrshire at a festering swimming hole called ‘the ducky’, two years on from where The Wall concluded. Life in Stewarton has not changed much, but the lives of teenagers Rab, Michelle and Norma have all moved on since we last saw them. Michelle is home from university to spend time with her dying gran, Rab is back from Cambridge and Norma has left school to sweep up hair at the local hair salon Krazy Kutz. All three characters seem pretty disillusioned by life - what’s it all about? Throw in a couple of new characters, Trevor and Cooney, and you have more hilarious escapades, political incorrectness and language that would make a Stewarton farmer blush.
Making a delightful return to their original roles are Hannah Donaldson (Michelle), Finn den Hertog (Rab) and Sally Reid (Norma). These young actors inhabit their characters, switching effortlessly from wise-cracking one-liners to heartfelt emotion and poignancy. They are joined by Alan Tripney as drippy, yet lovable Trevor and Jonathan Holt as bad-boy Cooney. It is unfair to pick out individual performances as this is very much a well crafted and brilliantly executed ensemble piece, but special mention to den Hertog, who is once again on fine form as cheeky rascal Rab and also Reid, whose portrayal of unconscious comedienne Norma is exceedingly entertaining and to quote the title, just ‘ducky’.
The production is under the direction of Jemima Levick with set design by Becky Minto and lighting by Jeanine Davies. Together with Jackson’s tremendous script, the creative team and cast have combined their talents to create another winning theatrical tour de force, even funnier than its predecessor. The Ducky is primarily about growing up, the meaning of life, love and death, whilst looking at social prejudice, education snobbery, pregnancy, bullying, self-belief and the appreciation of what we have in life, what we had, what we’ve lost and what’s still to come: hopefully another sequel.
- David Somerville