Stick Man brings Julia Donaldson's children's book to life
Lively adaptation hits the spot
This article is from 2010.
Julia Donaldson’s 2008 picture book, Stick Man isn’t the longest tale in the world, so anyone looking to adapt it would have to cast around for some pretty extensive padding.
Leave it to the formidable Scamp Theatre to do just that. Performed by three talented actors, this charming tale of a happy stick family temporarily torn apart by happenstance, is both witty and moving in turns.
Out for a morning jog, Stick Man finds himself toyed with by a pesky dog, thrown into the river by a pooh sticks-loving girl, used as a bat by a young couple on the beach, then left to freeze in the snow – before finally being rescued by everyone’s favourite Christmas guest, Santa.
Each interlude is surrounded by movement and song, often with a fun element of audience interaction, such as a beachball batted out into the crowd to whoops of delight. The simple yet hugely effective set uses a curved platform for the ‘family tree’, and a small area entirely devoted to percussion instruments, which embellish the already lively score.
Our hero and his family are made just as they should be – out of wood, with each of the five figures (the ‘Stick Man, his lady love and his stick children three’) held by the actors. The simple donning of a fur coat (the dog) or a red hair bow (the girl) takes them from one character to the next without any fear of confusion. And as the happy ending approaches, there’s no doubt you’ve been taken on a real adventure.
Udderbelly’s Pasture, until 30 August (not 16), 12.30pm, £11 (£9).