Honk!, Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. In this season’s earlier musical adaptation of “The Ugly Duckling,” Everything’s Ducky, the duckling was a girl and the solution was a makeover. Here, the duckling is a boy and the solution is to accept being different–a far more attractive message delivered in a far more attractive package. But despite George Stiles’s splendid score (including the showstopper “Warts and All”) and Anthony Drewe’s clever book and lyrics, the show palls. No children’s musical should run two and a half hours. There are five songs to sit through before the show really takes off, and a nearly superfluous scene closes act one.

Drewe does a fine job as director, though, ably assisted by Marc Robin’s choreography and Brad Haak’s excellent musical direction. Four performers shine in the terrific cast: Paul Slade Smith, at once funny, gawky, and touching as the hero Ugly, whose lifelike honks give way to a sweet tenor; the amazing Kenny Ingram as Cat, Ugly’s ravenous nemesis, with the hair of a feline Sweeney Todd and the voice and moves to make “Play With Your Food” the first-act highlight; and, looking better than ever, veterans Paula Scrofano as Ugly’s faithful mother and Hollis Resnik as a stylish duck and a maidenly tabby wooed by Cat.