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Stick Man - Leicester Square Theatre (review)

Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle

STICK Man, based on the best-selling book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo), is once again delighting young audiences at Leicester Square Theatre.

A familiar story, it follows the adventures of a misunderstood stick man who, whilst out for a jog, is pounced on by a playful dog. Mistaken for an ordinary stick, he is swept far away and used for all sorts of things: from a flag mast to a cricket bat, a swan’s nest to firewood – well almost!

For it’s only the timely intervention of a jolly seasonal visitor dressed all in red who saves the day and, with a little bit of help from the audience, restores Stick Man to his ‘family tree’ and ‘his Stick Lady Love and their stick children three.’

Apart from a little padding (none of it inappropriate), Scamp Theatre’s production remains faithful to the original and is brought vividly to life by an energetic and engaging cast of three (two men and a woman) who, for the most part, do it not by dressing up, but by the clever use of props and improvisation.

In fact, it’s not unlike anything you might see in a hundred school productions up and down the country at this time of year, though it’s nonetheless effective for that. But what surely raises it to a higher level is Stick Man’s extraordinary gamut of facial expressions. They’re just wonderful.

A degree of audience participation nicely takes little people right into the heart of the story and has them rooting for Stick Man every step of the way. I went with two of my young grandsons yesterday afternoon (December 21, 2013) and for 55 minutes we forgot the wind and rain outside and completely lost ourselves in this enchanting adventure.

Stick Man continues at Leicester Square Theatre until January 5, 2014.