Every year at Christmas time we look forward to seeing The Scamp Theatre Company produce Stick Man Live In The West End.
It’s probably the best thing we’ve ever been to see at the theatre for children. I mean that’s quite a hard statement to make because we’ve seen a LOT of good stuff but there’s something different about Stick Man? Something extra special. It helps that it’s Christmassy of course but it’s definitely more than that; I just can’t put my finger on exactly what. My friend and I, who both go every year, have said that we will still be booking tickets as a family tradition even when the children are teenagers and begging us not to because WE love it so much!
But it’s not just Stick Man they do well… Oh no!
Scamp Theatre have the magic touch as far as I’m concerned; they take Julia Donaldson books and bring them alive, exactly as you’d imagined. They use very minimalistic and interesting props to superb effect and coupled with the wonderful music in songs they transform the stories, which are quick rhyming bed-time reads, into a full show.
Their latest, which is showing currently at the Leicester Square Theatre in London, is ‘Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales’, a quad a Donaldson stories, in one fell swoop.They manage to make ‘Monkey Puzzle’, ‘A Squash and a Squeeze’, ‘The Smartest Giant in Town’ and, of course, ‘Tiddler’ run into and wind around each other as if that was the way they were always meant to be and believe you me, every single pair of little eyes in the theatre is lit up with joy as they watch intently from start to finish!
We kicked off the summer holidays with a trip and have been singing ‘Take in my hen, take in my hen, take in my hen, said the wise old man’ in a southern American drawl ever since. It was simply brilliant and the children also came away saying, delightedly, ‘FOUR stories! We just saw FOUR stories’ thinking they’d got a better deal than if they’d just been to see the one and you know what, perhaps they did!
It had the Scamp stamp all over it with umbrellas, funny little dances, tunes you can’t get out of your head and just a small cast of three (one of whom I believe is new to the cast) performing the whole thing. I was very impressed with this trio of rather handsome men who clearly had friends in the audience (friends of the pretty girl variety) raucously laughing at their moves! They managed to not crack a smile themselves and didn’t falter one jot!
On top of the moves, the tunes and the brilliant use of props there were jokes (we LOVED chicken in a basket), rhymes and the stories told all in that perfect Donaldson voice. I might say there was just one slight disappointment in the fact they left a couple of subtle things out, probably to make enough time in the show to finish but to children of 3 and 5 who know the story well it was a little annoying that the giant didn’t give his sock to the fox as a sleeping bag for instance. You know how it is when you read a book and then see the film but they’ve changed it a little… It’s the same no matter how old you are and my two definitely noticed but hey, it’s a small price to pay to get four such lovely stories on the table!
We come away recommending without hesitation! Next up for us is going to have to be ‘The Scarecrows Wedding’ which is playing at Camp Bestival 30th July – 2nd August where we will be as Camp B ambassadors! We’re going to HAVE to mark this as top priority on our ‘must do’ list for the weekend!
Regarding the venue we do have to point out that the Leicester Square Theatre, although easy to get TO, isn’t easy to get into with small children and buggies. My advice is don’t take one if you can manage. I opted for a sling this time because the steps are just too steep and you then have to faff around folding a buggy to pile it up with everyone else’s in their tiny storage area – much easier without.
Tickets are on sale now for the run from 11th July to 31st August 2015 at The Leicester Square Theatre. Recommended for ages 3+. Children under 12 months may sit on laps without requiring a ticket.
We were invited as guests of the show in return for an honest review.