Paul Johnson | 21 Jul 2015 23:02pm
When it comes to children’s theatre, Mr Sardines and I don’t agree. He wants productions to be a completely faithful representation of the book, bringing to life the story as the children know it. I like to see a bit of creativity. Obviously, a lot of these shows have to ‘pad’ out the story, otherwise they’d be rather short!
Stick Man is by perennial favourites Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. We have all the books, we have the DVDs, the story CDs, the cuddly toys. We even had a Gruffalo party when Mini Sardines turned two. We love anything Julia! Imagine my surprise when our little theatre critic asked to go home. Before the show ended. To be fair, it was nearly finished but he did highlight an important fact – the show needs to entertain the children throughout. A regular theatregoer, we have to sneak out when we go to review shows, ignoring his plaintive cries of “Me too!”. We all had a nice time, but something was amiss.
It was a tough audience that only really got going with the interactive and explicitly noisy bits. The volunteer ushers took their mobile phone finding mission seriously too, so there were a few occasions when flashing torches were a bit disruptive. Poor sound/head-mic levels were also continuously frustrating. But the rest was great.
I enjoyed the live music, I loved how Stick Man was represented and I loved the creativity. I just cannot put my finger on why we enjoyed previous shows more. I think this is a harder story to tell as the main character is a stick. As is said, this was done well. There is a stick and he looks just like he does in the book (important when dealing with children) and the idea of the actor also being the stick was handled well and effective. The characterisation of the others that he meets on his journey were also effective.
The onlookers loved the moments of audience participation but I wonder if it dragged a little and interrupted the flow. It’s that fine balance between telling the story whilst creating a spectacle too. The whole show is a lesson in physical theatre however, definitely more so than other productions. The three actors (no programme, no cast list unfortunately) gave themselves to the roles and were perfectly entertaining to watch.
I don’t want to give a bad impression of the show as it is wonderful. The kids will love it, as I am sure the adults will too. I think we just experienced a few teething troubles. Join Stick Man on his treacherous journey at a tree not too far from home.
Photo: Steve Ullathorne
- : admin
- : 20/07/2015