stickman cast


Birmingham Town Hall


Julia Donaldson has that knack of writing deceptively simple stories, full of adventure, that appeal to children, and Scamp Theatre has found the knack of delivering that adventure effectively on stage.

Stickman is the saga of a . . .well, a stickman, a man made of a stick – the name is a bit of a clue here – who leaves his stick wife and children one morning to go for a run.

Except stickmen have a definite drawback when it comes to their appearance – to all intents and purposes, to the untrained eye, they look like . . . er . . . a stick. Which can be a bit of a problem.

So first our twiggy adventurer, played, or rather held, by Sam Heron is chased by a dog then by a karate kicking girl, both played by Lara Cowin, who wants to play a robust version of Pooh sticks, or at least lobs our stickman far into the river.

Luckily sticks float, but then so do swans, and one in particular, a puppet operated by Cowin, takes a fancy to stickman, an ideal stick for her nest.

Then, carried down the river and far away, sticman is washed up on a beach, where, despite all his protestations, he finds he is called into service as a bat by a rather posh couple, Cowin and musical director Alex Tosh, who blows a mean tenor sax by the way, playing on the sand, and to add insult to injury they then use him as a flagpole on a sand castle.

So far from home, lost and just seen as a stick on a beach stickman is in despair, and freezing with cold as winter comes until after a final adventure involving reindeer and a sleigh . . . well it is still Christmas after all, stickman and his family are reunited on Christmas Day.

And all that big adventure is achieved with a cast of three and minimal props and, more important, taking the children in the audience with them on the adventure whether it is spotting a dog racing around the Town Hall or catching a beach ball batted into the audience. No special effects or computer graphics, no technical wizardry, just a few props and puppets, and the age-old art of storytelling unlocking that greatest special effects of them all, imagination.

We even had snow at the end, with a rather uneven spread leaving one lady in the second row looking like a snowman!

Director Sally Cookson has kept everything moving along at a cracking pace, involving the children in the audience enough to keep their attention, and enthusiasm in a show which, like the book, is deceptively simple, to give an hour or so of magical storytelling full of charm and delight for all ages. It will be enthralling children until 12-01-18

Roger Clarke


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