Review: Stick Man, Spiegeltent, St Andrew Square

The Stick Man cast. Pic: Lesley Martin

The Stick Man cast. Pic: Lesley Martin

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STICK MAN lives in a Sycamore tree with his Stick Lady Love and Stick Children Three. It’s an idyllic existence filled with laughter and affection.

But one day Stick Man – who likes to eat healthy food and stay in shape – goes out for a jog, and calamities ensue!

He’s fetched off by a dog, turned into a Pooh stick by a little girl and then into a nest by a swan. Finally he is swept out to sea.

Washed ashore, he’s employed as a cricket bat and a sand castle flagpole by a pair of seaside revelers. The weather grows colder, and Stick Man’s anxiety increases. Will he ever find his way home to the family he’s, ahem, pining for?

These scenes of mild peril did not diminish the enjoyment of the wee ones on hand to cheer this superb cast of three who bring the story to life with great verve, terrific musicianship and non-stop choreography that keeps them on the move with bits of business that cleverly engage the audience in call and response, a game of catch, and more. With a plot straight out of L Frank Baum – there’s no place like home – tricks borrowed from panto and Christmas crackers, and much repetition for the kids to latch on to, there’s a cosy feeling of familiarity that never becomes boredom.

The props are marvelous, notably an underwater scene, and Stick Man himself, who is both a – well – twig, and an actor.

The main defects are occasional longeurs that make the hour seem longer than it is. A good half dozen scenes could be minutes shorter with no loss of effect. Thus speaks an adult with a reasonable ability to concentrate.

But stick with Stick Man, for that aside, based on the squeals, the rapt wee faces paying close attention, and the delight they took in interacting with the characters, the show is a triumph. Plus it culminates with a madcap sleigh ride and a Santa who is just exactly what Santa should be.

FIVE STARS

Runs until 4 January