The Scarecrows’ Wedding. It’s ‘the best wedding yet; a wedding that no one will ever forget’ but your fancy hat is optional. Actually, please don’t wear your fancy hat; the children in the rows behind you won’t be able to see. You should wear your dancin’ shoes, though.
You—and your children—are cordially invited to attend the wedding of Betty O’ Barley and Harry O’Hay in the farmer’s field. In lieu of gifts, please bring your own snacks for peckish little ones, a sense of adventure and your funny bone!
The incredibly talented troupe, Scamp Theatre, captivates an audience of small people and their parents for 60 minutes of puppetry, acting, miming, live instruments and song and dance in their adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s storybook-turned-stage-play The Scarecrow’s Wedding.
The Scarecrows’ Wedding is a bedtime favourite that comes to life before your eyes with loveable and slightly naïve Betty O’ Barley (Joanna Brown) and smitten Harry O’ Hay (Sam Heron), pooling their resources and teaming up with a farmer and a gaggle of farm animal friends (Mark Kane) to plan what is to be the wedding of the century, the best wedding yet; the wedding that no one will ever forget. With a few kisses for luck, a scattering of catchy, thigh-slapping folk-style songs for accompaniment and all the imagination they can muster, Betty and Harry set off ticking items off a list in preparation of their big day.
Imagination is one thing this production has in spades. Set designer James Button has masterfully designed a creative and innovative set, filling the stage with objects with dual purpose and inspiring us with the use of everyday objects in extraordinary ways that spark the imagination. Black gloves that take flight and become the pesky crows Betty is tasked with scaring away whilst belting out a sassy anthem or the farmer’s well-loved and worn armchair that becomes a mode of transport for that fiancée pilfering, cigar-smoking Lothario, Reginald Rake.
While we’re on the subject, yes, there’s a character who smokes. But, as in the actual book, Betty has no qualms about admonishing Reginald for his unhealthy habits. Reginald is such a fleeting character, though likable as he is, his many character flaws aren’t nearly as memorable as some of the musical numbers in this production or indeed the wedding itself.
This love story is the perfect introduction to theatre for the young ones. The recommended age is from 3 and up, but a younger child who enjoys music and has the attention span, would do well in the audience, too. My son, who is 5, absolutely loved the play, from the opening banjo strum to the final confetti flourish, he laughed out loud at the antics and put-on accents of Kanes’ many characters and even clutched my arm with mild trepidation.
As always, the venue, was fantastic. Offering a free buggy storing service and with a café on site dishing up lovely lunches—the perfect spot for filling your tummy after the curtain call and discussing the play. The Scarecrow’s Wedding will be on stage at the Waterside Arts Centre in Sale, Manchester, until 28 May. You can catch a performance elsewhere, anytime until 6 August.
If the Waterside Arts Centre is your local theatre, be sure to check out some of their upcoming child-friendly productions and events including the summer season of Refract, a 10-day programme which kicks off 21 July. There will be family-friendly productions, music and special events including performances for adults.
To book and for more information, contact the Waterside Arts Centre online at watersideartscentre.co.uk, by phone 0161 912 5616 and by text 0161 912 2102.
About the author
Anyonita is mom to two gorgeous cookies and writes Anyonita Nibbles, a gluten free food blog full of child-friendly recipes you won’t believe are gluten free! Connect with her on Pinterest and Instagram @anyonita!
NB: Anyonita received complimentary tickets to see The Scarecrows’ Wedding in order to review but all views and opinions are her own.