My son Willem and I headed along to Leeds Playhouse on Saturday, for the 1pm performance of Stick Man, which is the West Yorkshire theatre’s festive adaptation of the 2008 Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler book that many of us have read and loved.
I was initially worried my 9-year-old might find the show too young for him, but from the off he was thoroughly entertained.
Freckle Productions are the Brighton-based team behind this and lots of other magical pieces of theatre, specifically aimed at audiences of children from 1 to 100.
It was pure joy in the Courtyard Theatre as our hero – Stick Man (played by Luke Byeford) headed for his run – only to be chased by a dog, thrown into a river –and even washed out to sea!
But fear not! Stick Man makes it back to the family tree and his Stick Lady Love, (Georgia Jackson), and his Stick children three, thanks to some input from Father Christmas who got a very big welcome on stage at the end of the story.
There was a lovely moment when a game of Invisi-ball, involved everyone in the audience in a game of catch, just at the right time for some of the smaller people enjoying the fun!
There was singing, dancing and fun by the bucket-load, but also there were moments of sadness and jeopardy too – and it’s refreshing to see a production that isn’t afraid to broach some of the real-life issues that we all have to experience.
Leeds Playhouse also need a special mention for the lengths they go to make everyone feel included. The BSL translation is making theatre accessible to lots more audience members.
Georgia Jackson’s 5 Star performances in multi-roles were loved by everyone and Patrick Orkney’s mastery of numerous instruments certainly amazed us.
This is a lovely festive experience for very young audiences, full of love, heart, and song. It is certainly worth venturing out into the cold for; it will warm your hearts in no time.
Willem tells me the stage production was an accurate telling of the story. Personally, I found the underwater scene magical and the music and sound effects really brought it all to life.
Looking at the kids’ faces all around us was lovely. There were kids of all ages and they all seemed mesmerised and everyone got involved at the "he’s behind you" parts. It was funny and I found the use of props to help tell the story really clever.
Overall it was very enjoyable and a great way to kick off the season of treats and fun days out. Would definitely recommend and we would love to go see another show like this in the future.
Stick Man runs until 31st December. Tickets and info HERE
Header and Footer Images: Mark Senior/Leeds Playhouse