King George’s Hall
Script: Stagecraft: Performance:
Stickman is a live show aimed at children and adults alike. It tells the story of Stickman trying to get back to his family’s house-tree, using just three performers to take on the many roles. Julia Donaldson’s books are popular in our household and my five-year-old is able to recite many of them by heart, so I took him along for his expert opinion. Taking our seats at the splendid King George’s Hall in Blackburn, the show soon bounds straight into the action and the enthusiasm of the actors is immediately apparent. There was an immediate drawback, I thought, for the set was basic & lacks visual stimulation for the kids, when a rare change of scenery does little to keep the attention of the young, and those little ones around me quickly got restless. Things did pick up though, & the show became faster paced, & as it started to utilise the audience the children quickly came to life; jumping and screaming to get involved, they giggled and cheered and willed Stickman on through his journey.
In terms of technical merit, there is clearly a talented team at work here; director Sally Cookson has taken her small team into consideration and showcased their abilities with expertise. Euan Wilson, who studied Actor Musicianship at Rose Bruford, brings Stickman to life with his energetic performance. The cast use instruments, accents and a few props to set the various scenes which work well with music composed by Benji Bower.
There is no doubt that what we saw was art, delivered impressively by talented individuals, but in places the performance was a little too sophisticated for the younger audience who have perhaps been spoilt with the instant gratification of some children’s shows. My son visits the theatre often and summed the show up in three words, ‘it was great!’ I’ll take that from a harsh critic. The Mumble recently interviewed Wilson and I am pleased to be able to quote him and say he was absolutely right. We did ‘take away the wonderful story of adventure’ and the songs were indeed ‘stuck in our head’!
Reviewer : Aimee Hewitt
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