The delightful adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s hugely popular children’s book Stick Man, (live on the stage) has been touring the UK since September and finishes its run at the beautiful Lowy Quays theatre on the 6th January 2019. My daughter and I saw this wonderful production last year and with a totally new cast, Scamp Theatre’s production didn’t disappoint us again as my daughter and the packed auditorium were engrossed from beginning to end!
Stick man is a wonderful story: Stick Man leaves his Stick Lady Love and their three stick children in his family tree and goes out for a jog. Unfortunately, along the way he meets various people and animals who mistake him for a stick and set to use him as they see fit. The dog has a nibble, the girl plays pooh sticks, the swan uses him to build a nest, and he’s a bat and many more things throughout the show. All of which take Stick Man further and further away from his home until he ends up in grave danger on Christmas Eve.
The production is a mix of catchy songs, storytelling, puppetry, and humour with just the right amount of audience participation, supported by the most wonderful music and sounds performed on dozens of instruments by the very talented one-man band Robert Wade. Mathew Hamper and Lara Cowin also play their parts with such exuberance they are totally engaging to watch on stage.
Stick man is pure magical children’s entertainment as there is romance, danger, despair and of course a happy ending all the ingredients in perfect measures to keep the show lively and make for perfect children’s theatre.
Sally Cookson has thought of everything with the stage direction. Just at that moment when the children may get restless from sitting still for a while, they get to join in with the show, either with the cast darting around the theatre, a hint of pantomime ‘he’s behind you’, bubbles or bouncing a beach ball, not to mention the artificial falling snow that had the children squealing with delight.
The stage set was quite basic with little more than a wooden apparatus in the centre and props were kept to a minimum; however, the ones used – including three twirling umbrellas for the sea and the white pompom umbrella for the snow – worked well and kept the eyes of the young audience on what was happening rather than distracting them with fancy scenery.
I truly enjoyed this performance and from the reaction of my 6-year-old daughter and the many other children in the audience it was a big hit with them also. Lots of giggling, calling out, and hand waving filled the auditorium.
This is definitely a show that is not to be missed as it genuinely is a magical hour of indulgent family theatre that is heart-warming and uplifting.
When I asked my 6-year-old companion “if you had 5 thumbs to put up to say how good the show was, how many thumbs would you put up?” her answer summed it up for me “I’d give it 7 thumbs mummy, as I’d use your 2 thumbs also!” Now that is high praise from a hard to please princess.
Scamp theatre adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Stickman is on tour until January 2019 for more information visit https://thelowry.com/whats-on/stick-man/
Reviewer: Victoria Wilmot
Reviewed: 1st December 2018
North West End Rating: ★★★★