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Review of Stick Man at Leicester Square Theatre

Stick Man
Stick Man – Image courtesy of Steve Ullathorne

Stick Man has opened at the Leicester Square Theatre playing over the Christmas season until 7th January. Based on the 2008 children’s book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, this 55-minute play features a cast of three – the Stick Man, the musician, and the one who plays all the other characters. The three young performers are Lara Cowin, Sam Heron and Alex Tosh. The three actors are the latest in a line of performers to take this seven-year-old production on the road.

Directed by Sally Cookson and designed by Katie Sykes, the play centres on the Stick Man who lives with his ‘Stick Lady Love’ and his three children in the family tree. One day, whilst on a walk, he gets mistaken for a common or garden stick by a dog and is taken off. The story then follows the Stick Man’s adventures as he tries to get back to the family tree.

The production is packed full of songs and music composed by Benji Blower and features an array of instruments played live on stage by the musician. The funniest moment in the show came when the musician played the saxophone and a puppet swan sticks his neck into the bell of the saxophone– muting the sound. Visually amusing and a rather smart pun.

The show featured lots of pantomime-esque audience participation – cast members traversing up and down the rows of seats, throwing beach balls into the audience, getting the audience to shout out etc. On a well-attended performance, I imagine it’s a high octane fun show. Unfortunately, the performance I saw suffered from a rather low energy. I’m not sure if this was due to the show being rather poorly attended or maybe because it was the cast’s
second performance of the day, but when the beach ball chucked into the audience ended up languishing several rows back surrounded by rows and rows of empty seats, the cast looked completely deflated.

But Stick Man deserves to fill the 400 seat venue of the Leicester Square Theatre and I’m sure it will over the current run. It’s a perfect Christmas treat for the little ones as it features both snow and Santa – and, of course, the all-important happy ending for Stick Man and his family.

3 Star Review

Review by Laura-Jane Foley

Touching, funny and utterly original, Scamp Theatre’s delightful adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s STICK MAN is back at Leicester Square Theatre!

What starts off as a morning jog becomes quite the misadventure for Stick Man: a dog wants to play fetch with him, a swan builds a nest with him, and he even ends up on a fire! How will Stick Man ever get back to the family tree?

This award-winning production, from the teams behind Tiddler and other Terrific Tales and The Scarecrows’ Wedding, features a trio of top actors and is packed full of puppetry, songs, live music and funky moves.

All ages welcome.

Running time 50 minutes
Twitter @StickManLive, @ScampTheatre
Director Sally Cookson
Producer Scamp Theatre
Composed by Benji Bower
Designed by Katie Sykes
Associate Director Mark Kane
Lighting Designer Elanor Higgins
Stick Man Sam Heron
Stick Lady Love Lara Cowin
Musician Alex Tosh
Leicester Square Theatre, 6 Leicester Pl, London WC2H 7BX

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