Theatre Review: Stick Man, Leicester Square

One of our New Year's Resolutions this year was to go to the theatre more, and we have certainly achieved our goal.  The latest fantastic show added to our collective belt is the bright, joyful adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s bestselling book, Stick Man, at the Leicester Square Theatre.

Our daughters aren't the first to be utterly enthralled by Julia's delightful rhyme and Axel's exquisite pictures, and they certainly won't be the last, so these big fans were very keen to see one of their most-loved books brought to the stage.


Before we went there was much debate about how it would be done: someone dressed up, using animation, puppets, physical theatre?  In actual fact a combination, but mostly physical theatre which saw three actors taking on the roles of Stick Man, Stick Wife, dog, swan, etc.

And with LOTS of audience participation.  Lara particularly loved Stick Man running around the auditorium to get away from the relentless, slobbering dog, then spotting her Skye hat, shouting "Aargh, another dog!" and running away.

With lots of opportunities to join in and call out, engaging performances, and plenty of comic touches, all three of our daughters were utterly involved in the performance, a joy to see.

In case you don't know or can't recall the story, Stick Man sets out for a jog from his Family Tree, leaving his Stick Lady Love and their stick children three, then encounters various animals and humans who want to use his stick-ness for their own ends.  Stick Man repeatedly escapes from the dog, then a girl playing pooh sticks, a swan building a nest, becoming a flag pole on the beach, and many more perils over the course of a year.

With live music, fast costume changes, puppets and a small amount of other props, the Scamp Theatre trio bring the story to wonderful, physical life, to the delight of children and adults alike.  They transition seamlessly from one character and scene to another.  The girls' favourite scenes, after the dog, were the beautifully done snow, the funny swan, and the beach scene, which had them in stitches.

Ultimately, Stick Man finds himself asleep in a grate, will he wake in time?  But what's this, a red bottom is stuck in the chimney.  Stick Man assists the man in red and finds himself part of Father Christmas's Christmas Eve crew, finally delivered back to the Family Tree in time for Christmas.

Our girls aged 7, 5 and 3 were utterly mesmerised by this exuberant, enchanting show and have been talking about it ever since.  A definite must-see this Christmas season.

Stick Man is at the Leicester Square Theatre, London from 19th October 2019 until 26th January 2020.


Running time: 50 minutes, no interval

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