Our review of Scamp Theatre’s fabulous adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Stickman – live on stage!
NB: Katy and her family received complementary tickets to see Stickman at the Lowry but all views and opinions are their own.
We absolutely love the Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler stories in our household, with a few firm favourites including The Gruffalo, Gruffalo’s Child, Room on the Broom and Stickman.
We visited the Lowry a few years ago to watch Room on the Broom and it was simply amazing, so I had high hopes for Stickman!
Today we headed to the Lowry to watch Scamp Theatre’s fabulous adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Stickman, and I can honestly say it was just wonderful. I knew that our girls would love the performance, but I was slightly worried about how long our lively little two year old would sit for. I needn’t have worried though. The production was fantastic, with lots of music, singing, laughter, and interaction to keep the children entertained throughout the show. Looking around the packed auditorium, there were children of all ages, and they were all completely mesmerised by the performance.
This is a beautiful story of a Stickman who leaves his stick lady love and his children one day to go for a jog. He unfortunately gets into a spot of trouble when a dog tries to play fetch with him, a girl uses him to play pooh sticks, a swan whisks him away to use him to build a nest and he is stolen and used as a wooden flag for a sandcastle. This all leads stickman further and further away from his tree house, his stick lady love and his beautiful children…… until the big man himself with a red suit and big black boots guides him home (with the help of the audience).
There were so many really lovely moments, but I think the children loved the arrival of Santa, who helped Stickman find his way back to his stick lady love and his three stick children, oh…. and the arrival of snow in the auditorium had our children jumping off their seats with excitement.
The performance lasted 60 minutes and it was just right. The children sat brilliantly throughout the entire show – any longer I think our two year old may have got a little restless.
The Lowry is a great venue, situated on the waterfront in MediacityUK. The venue is fully accessible with step free access, lifts, and accessible toilets throughout. Parking is available at the Lowry Outlet Mall, and there is a great choice of shops and restaurants nearby to complete your visit. We grabbed a bite to eat in the Lowry Outlet Mall before the show and then booked a table at a nearby restaurant to finish our day, before setting off on our journey home.
Heading home with huge smiles, and a miniature Stickman soft toy (we couldn’t leave without one!) I can honestly say we absolutely loved this show. What a perfect start to the Festive season!
Stickman is magical, uplifting and memorable – we absolutely loved it. It is a perfect family show.
Below is the Mini Travellers review of Stick Man from 2015
Stick Man lives in the family tree, with his Stick Lady Love and their stick children three…’
On Thursday I took a morning off work to take my eldest daughter to see Stick Man at the Waterside Arts Centre in Sale. The production is touring nationally and has been put on by Scamp Productions. Click here to see the tour dates!
The first thing to say about the production is that my daughter really loved it: when we got home she basically explained the full 55 minutes to her Daddy with actions and quotes and enthusiasm. It helps that we have read the book more times than she can count, but she put the right actions with the story and jogged like the dog chasing the stick – a lot!
The second thing to say was that the production was done on a very small budget. There was actually a reference to this by one of the cast members at one point in response to the answer to ‘what do points make?’ Prizes. Not in this show the budgets not that big!
However when we walked into the theatre my daughter disappointedly noted – where is the stage? This is obviously particular to the particular theatre, and Waterside Arts is quite 60’s and trendy for its time. However for me the lack of stage did effect my impression of this production. Because there was only a very basic set and three actors, I think it would have looked more professional on a stage. Just my view though, not my daughters, and let’s face it the production team aren’t aiming to please me are they!
The production of Stick Man itself was the perfect length. 55 minutes for a 4 year old is just right. It leaves them wanting more rather than wondering when it will end. There is no interval to have to deal with and it means they don’t have to drag the story out anymore than they should.
The three actors were excellent, their enthusiasm was just right and they engaged well with the kids. At times however I felt the interpretation of the book/combined with the low budget did require an explanation. My daughter didn’t instantly recognise the swan in the lake. To be fair it was a very small hand puppet combined with a piece of blue paper to demonstrate the lake, but once I explained she was happy to run with it. The scenes on the beach with the sandcastle and the rubber rings worked well though, and the snow umbrella was great.
The show ends like the book with Santa. For this reason Stick Man has always been a book to read at Christmas, and it did feel a bit odd watching santa arrive on stage at the beginning of Spring. The cast did acknowledge this with a ‘see you in 8 months children’ comment, but I think had we been watching this in November/December it would have worked better. I know it isn’t a Christmas story as such but you get my point.
Now I know the review so far sounds a little negative and I guess it is, but I think what I am trying to say, maybe badly, is that it had quite a few flaws for me, but not for my 4 year old. Lily loved the songs and the shouting and the cheering. The actors end up in the audience when chasing the dog and she roared ‘he’s behind you’ with the rest of the kids. She danced at the end and followed all the actions and she laughed out loud at all the jokes. When it finished she was left wanting more. Please don’t let Stick Man be over yet Mummy. Can we watch it again.
So would I recommend the show. Yes I would. The tickets are good value. It is a great introduction to the theatre for younger kids and the vast number of school/nursery classes in the audience thoroughly enjoyed it. For me it’s not a show that will leave you as an adult wanting more but then as I said with my Mr Tumble review, that’s really not the point is it!
The show is most suitable for children aged 3+ with their friends & families.
NB: We were given the tickets for the purpose of this review, but all opinions are my own.