Seren and I were lucky enough to have another theatre trip last weekend (I recently wrote about our trip to see The Scarecrows’ Wedding) to see Stick Man in London’s Leicester Square Theatre. The production is inspired by the Stick Man book by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, creators of The Gruffalo.
The trip nearly didn’t happen. All day Saturday Seren had been poorly with a cold and missed two birthday celebrations. Fortunately, she had perked up enough on Sunday to head into London for the show which were seeing for another friend, Lissie’s, birthday celebrations.
As we turned into Leicester Square, I told Seren that we might see a Christmas tree (we didn’t). To which she replied “well maybe we would at Christmas Time, it’s NOT Christmas Time”. So that was me told, I was beginning to get excited!
Scamp Theatre are behind the performance of Stick Man – the same company who put on Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales and The Scarecrows’ Wedding. I love their energetic take on the famous tales, adding in songs and using everyday objects as props to fire the little ones’ imagination.
Stick Man was of the same ilk, with a cast of 3 playing the parts of Stick Man (the same actor throughout) and another actor (who was in Tiddler!) and actress playing the other parts. Julia Donaldson’s familiar rhyming story provided the structure of the show but was interspersed with fresh dialogue and plenty of singing. One actor also provided an impressive selection of sound effects and played instruments.
There was a good amount of audience participation too. At the beginning, Stick Man is chased into the audience by the dog and later on the cast play a beach ball game with the audience. Lissie (the birthday girl) actually caught the ball at one point!
Leicester Square is a great venue for this type of show as it’s intimate, there is an area to store buggies and there is a bar at the side for coffees and popcorn. You do have to negotiate a flight of stairs down though and the toilets are perhaps the smallest theatre loos ever.
We loved the wintery snow scene at the end of the show and of course, the arrival of the big guy in red himself to help Stick Man safely home. I think even Seren was feeling a little bit Christmassy towards the end.
After the show we wandered to Covent Garden to see the street performers, the Christmas tree and for a quick stop off at the Disney Store. Then it was back to Leicester Square for Pizza Express and more birthday celebrations. I had their Snowball Dough Balls (sprinkled with icing sugar & cinnamon and served with a vanilla cream dip) which I can recommend as a Christmas treat!
(from the top, the first, fourth and fifth photos were taken by Steve Ullathorne)
This review was first published in November 2015. See the show’s website for current information and dates – http://stickmanlive.com