Theatre review: Stick Man
We're big fans of Julia Donaldson over here (who isn't?). I'd probably read Stick Man 100 times before I heard that Scamp Theatre's adaptation of Stick Man was going to be at the Leicester Square theatre. I was a bit apprehensive about taking the toddler to the theatre as she is just 2.5 years old but I needn't have worried, these children's productions know what they're doing, she was totally engrossed from start to finish.
There are just three actors that tell the story of Stick Man, one actor takes the lead role while the other two take on the rest of the characters. With a few costume changes and the sheer energy these guys have, you'd be fooled into thinking it was a bigger production. Through a simple yet imaginative set we were taken on poor Stick Man's journey of trying to get back to his family tree.
The non technical set is refreshing to see and great for toddlers to fire their imaginations. We're not massive on tech over here so seeing foil covered fish stuck onto sticks recreating scenes of a river was the perfect image and one that would get their minds ticking over about being able to create the same at home. Again with the tech there's no big orchestra or digital music just a small percussion section, a ukulele and saxaphone that the actors use themselves. What they create really is impressive and a real credit to the three actors at being able to convey a simple (and of course brilliant) children's story into something so much bigger. The energy of the three actors is inspiring, I couldn't help but wonder if any of them had children themselves and if they were able to keep those energy levels up all day entertaining a toddler. Maybe it's just me that's knackered by 11am!
They stick to the story, which is just as well as the toddler knows the story page by page. They do tell a lot of the story in song and add in their own added extras but the main dialogue stays the same.
There is great interaction with the audience with two of the actors, one who plays Stick Man and one who is playing a dog, running around the audience and another where a beach ball is passed around the audience. Importantly with a childrens production, they never forget the seats at the back so where ever you are sat you will have a great seat and will feel involved. On that note, the theatre provides booster seats for the little ones, these provided plenty of entertainment in themselves!
We left on such a high, the toddler was excited about seeing the real Stick Man and of course Father Christmas who I had totally forgotten makes an appearance (how could I forget that? I write a Christmas blog!!) and I left thinking that I would try singing the story next time I read it and would give the fish on sticks a go. There is a real feel good factor about this production, I know the toddler loved it but I also came out feeling a little inspired.
It is a great intimate venue with a buggy park and bar selling popcorn at the side, be warned there are stairs and if you arrive with a toddler who refuses to get out of their pram (ahem...) then you may need to ask for help from someone but as there are so many parents there, there will be someone more than happy to help you out.
What Scamp theatre do is so lively, energetic and a little addictive. I got home to research them and felt a little annoyed that I'd missed their Tiddler adaptation (another favourite in this house) but they have gained a loyal fan in me and I will be first in line to buy tickets for their next show!