I was that kid... I was at various points too sissy, too fat, too loud, too strange.
So when I say that Duckie connected straight to that 5, 7 or 10 year old kid in me, I mean that it totally bypassed all the parts of me that are rational and logical and revel in my strangeness and not being the same as all the "normals", and hit me directly in the emotions.
Le Gateau had me from the first moments of the show though, partly I think because while I've seen him numerous times, he's always been that larger than life Chocolat character, the super confident, ultra polished persona that is so engaging to watch. But here as Duckie he enters seemingly sad and dejected... and it really got to me.
But the joy arrives fairly quickly courtesy of Chocolat's beautifully mellifluous voice as he sings Disney songs, musicals, slightly altered pop songs and the like.
And as Duckie visits the animals of a circus to try and find where he belongs, Le Gateau takes on the role of each of the animals... a lion (my favourite, and not just because he came into the audience and gave me head scritches with his lion claws), a flamingo, an elephant and a little mouse, all brought to life with whatever Duckie can find in his suitcase.
I will admit that there was a point where I got quite teary when Duckie was at his lowest, just before the really lovely finale where he finally finds his place.
If there was a downside to the show it was in the pre-recorded audio... there was something out of whack with the sound system which made quite a bit of the story difficult to hear or understand (and I don't think it was because of the Clipsal cars or helicopter buzzing around outside). I got most of it, but it was often a bit of a struggle.
I do hope that the kids in the audience understood what the message was though or that their adults were paying enough attention to discuss it with them later.
I will say that watching Le Gateau interact with a number of the kids after the show was beautiful. And we were also fortunate enough to get to chat with him for a while (and get some very lovely, if sweaty, hugs... he gives good hugs)... and yes, I may have gotten all choked up trying to thank him for the show.
Because for any of us who were ever just an ugly duckling and never got to be a swan, finding other ducklings to share that with and knowing that sometimes it's okay just to be a duckling, is very important.