Four stars

Buck Creek Players; Directed by D. Scott Robinson

Honk! is another formulaic musical with very little to excite the ear that still makes for exciting theater. George Stiles and Anthony Drewe’s adaptation of The Ugly Duckling replaces Hans Christian Anderson’s darkest passages about the pain of being different with an overload of motherly love, an enjoyably wicked cat lusting for duck à la orange and nonstop puns — some saucy, some just about duck sauce. For Buck Creek’s production, director D. Scott Robinson wisely chose a small ensemble cast for their wonderful voices and their ability to deliver professional-grade comedic high jinx at community theater prices. Stacey “Jack” Johnson is the wayward swan, Kari Ann Stamatoplos his mother and Trevor Fanning the leather-clad cat who likes to play with his food. John Sparkman, Cathy Cutshall, Denise A. Fort, Craig Underwood and Erin M. Rettig take on multiple delightful side roles to make feline romance, froggie wisdom and a wild goose chase that is not metaphoric. Aaron B. Bailey’s barnyard set, with its painted pond and 3-foot cattails, sets the tone of artful whimsy. Linda Rowand and Susan Sanderock costume the farm fowl not in feathers but in dresses, vests and pants, combined sometimes subtly, sometimes outrageously to suggest a bright yellow brood, fighter pilot geese and a graceful swan who knows where real beauty lies. Through June 22; 317-862-2270.

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