Stick Man review Leicester Square Theatre
by Natalie Shepherd, Drama Teacher and Parent.
It was with high expectations and high spirits that we bravely set out to face the busy weekend London crowds to watch “Stick Man” at the Leicester Square Theatre.
The charming book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler rates up in the top five all time favourites of both my children (Phoenix, 3, Zion, 6) and myself (age not to be disclosed!), so there was much to prove and live up to.
I can firmly confirm with affirment that the stage adaptation DID NOT DISAPPOINT!
I admit to having slight reservations beforehand; afterall, this wonderful story does not sit long on the bookcase without being read and although an absolute top tale, esssentially it tells the story of a stick man who gets lost, meets a few folk, has a few adventures and then comes home. I wondered how this simple story would transfer to a West End theatre, last the course, and manage to engage and entertain highly demanding, often critical little people!
My worries were entriely unfounded and this highly imaginative piece of theatre managed to thrill us all – laugh out loud moments for both the children and I and that definite deflated feeling of disappointment when something fun comes to an end.
The cast of three skillfully worked through a repertoire of multi-rolling, singing, dancing, musical magic, miming and more to bring this heart-warming tale to life. Stick Man is wonderfully portrayed by nimble Mark Kane as a straight-forward, healthy, family man whose life (and body at times) are turned upside down becasue the outsiders fail to see who he is and where he belongs. He is used as a bat, a flag mast, firewood and more.Simple props and costumes turn into puppets and personalities in the story, all to the soundtrack of the inventive one man band.
With the exception of the ‘tree’ and the array of instruments, the stage was bare, scenes being creatively rendered with the use of cloth, props, rubber rings and in the magical underwater scene, swirling umbrellas. The production seamlessly weaves modern and older media references (for the adults) into the entertaining adventure of stick man, punctuated by an ecelectic sample of music and catchy one-liners, oh, and not to forget panto-style audience participation.
This is West End theatre bursting with talent, originality and integrity to the art form, without the need for glitz and glam. My two young critics sported smiles from ear to ear which made stepping out into the cold busy, darkening street a joy not a chore. I would happily go again tomorrow (with or without the kids!).
Need to know
Running time: 55 minutes
Age Restriction None. Most suitable for children aged 3+ their friends & families.
Babes in arms may sit on laps without requiring a ticket.
2-3 performances daily until 4th January 2015.