Holly. Mistletoe. Berries. Pinecones. All things that perhaps, you might think about and associate with Christmas.
Perhaps not so much.
Scamp Theatre’s Stick Man will change that for you, forever.
‘Stick Man lives in the family tree
With his Stick Lady Love
and their stick children three…’
If you’re not familiar with Stick Man, who he is, and what he does then it’s not a problem. The show takes the story, originally written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, and reworks it perfectly for an audience made up of just about anybody. The way that it has been adapted is done so well that even Little B (at 19 months old) sat still enthralled throughout the entire performance. Audience participation is peppered throughout the show, coming at just the right moment every now and then to stave off any potential fidgeting from younger viewers; the batting of a large inflatable beach ball into the audience was the firm favourite of all three kids! Leicester Square Theatre itself is great for younger children too – it’s cosy enough to make it feel comfortable even in the semi-dark, and inflatable booster seats mean that even tiny viewers can still see what’s going on easily.
The story written in the book is played out very cleverly using only a minimal number of props and a cast of three, with a lot of what’s going on being quite interpretive – Seb in particular really enjoyed that aspect, loving how a roll of paper became the sea and umbrellas turned into whirling, stormy waves.
Alongside these visual displays, there are a number of songs which also really help to bring the story to life. They’re very catchy – I’m still finding myself humming them several days later!
As a show I think what is so wonderful about Stick Man is that there is something that appeals to everyone, big or small, whether you know the story or not. Plus of course, Stick Man makes a very special friend at the end – Father Christmas – and finishing with a sleigh ride back to the family tree turns Stick Man a festive treat that little bit different to the traditional pantomime – in fact once you’ve seen it once, you’ll probably want to go back to again, and again and again. In fact, the kids were so impressed with it (despite Seb’s moans before the show that he ‘didn’t want to see silly old Stick Man’) that they begged to be able to go and see it again next week!
I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen, but the good news for them is that they don’t have to wait til next year to see Stick Man again because this year he’s making his TV debut on BBC1, supported by an all star cast including Martin Freeman (Stick Man), Hugh Bonneville (Santa), Jennifer Saunders (The Narrator), Russell Tovey, Rob Brydon and Sally Hawkins.
So if you can get into London, do go and see it. It’s definitely worth the £55 it costs for a family ticket (or individual tickets from £14-£19.50).
We found Stick Man!
Wednesday – Sunday 10.30am
Saturday and Sunday 12.15pm and 2.00pm.
Contact Leicester Square Theatre box office for additional Christmas performances or to book.