Edinburgh Fringe 2011
A lighthearted musical adaptation of the children’s book ‘Stick Man’ provides 50 minutes of fun for audiences of 3 and over.
Stick Man lives in the family tree with his Lady Love and children 1, 2, 3 … one day Stick Man goes out jogging, and so begins his unplanned adventure that takes him further and further away from his family tree, as he is first picked up by a dog, then used by a girl in a game of Pooh Sticks, then in a Swan’s nest, before finding himself on a distant beach where he is used as a bat in a game, and then a flagpole in a sandcastle … and so on.
Knowing the picture book by Julia Donaldson, and the very distinct illustrations of Axel Scheffler, I wondered how a live cast would be able to convincingly take on these roles without the use of bulky character-suit costumes, but it was very successfully achieved, simply by the performers holding the stick characters throughout.
Mark Kane takes on the energetic role of Stick Man with relish. Providing many of the secondary roles throughout the story, (Stick Lady, the dog, the girl …) is Peta Dennis. An impressive performance is provided by third cast member Brian Hargreaves, who not only performs extra roles, but also provides a great deal of musical accompaniment as well. The songs throughout the show are catchy, and I must admit that I am still humming the main tune! All three are incredibly enjoyable to watch … their energy, physicality, and vibrant facial expressions … and their timing perfectly synchronised.
Excellent ensemble work means props are handled with ease, and the simple set design is utilised to its fullest advantage. The audience is also included in the action, with some lovely choreographed chases taking place in the bleachers, as well as a game with a beach ball.
The audience was full of delighted children and their parents. Unfortunately, some of the seating in the big purple cow is not conducive to the best view for little ones, and there were some sad children who complained to irritated parents throughout the proceedings.
This is a performance that all young people will enjoy watching, and it is well worth the queuing involved!
Four stars: Highly Recommended