I was looking forward to yesterday because the kids and I were going for our first theatrical show this year. Having been so busy with the move in the past couple of months and finally getting the new house into shape, it was high time for us to head out and resume our mother-and-kids outings. With the little sister learning all about Julia Donaldson and her well-loved children books in school this term, Stick Man was an ideal choice for us.
We don't have the book at home but I remember we borrowed it from the library to read previously. Blame it on a mummy's brain, I couldn't quite pinpoint what the storyline was about and had to ask Angel who in turn told me "It's about a stick who is alive and is used by others for different things." Yes. he's not just a stick, but a stick man.
So we went with him on all his adventures at KidsFest 2017 yesterday and you bet it was a ride to remember. Here's sharing 5 things that we love about the show!
The story revolves around Stick Man, who has a "stick lady love and his stick children three", and his adventures as he gets thrown to a dog, becomes a pooh stick for a girl, forms a swan's nest and ends up in a fireplace. No matter how far or long he had been gone, he never stopped thinking about his family or wishing that he was back in the sycamore tree. I think it drove across a point to the kids - no matter where life takes us or how our environments might change, the only constant is a family's love. Watching this show with my three babies on my own and hearing how the stick children miss their Daddy somehow struck a chord in me and I totally knew how stick lady love felt - you just want your partner to come home safely and the whole family to be together again.
I was blown away by the music which was played live by Robert Jackson of the trio. He used a whistle, he hit the cymbal, he spoke into a loudhailer, he played the xylophone and even did a solo with the saxophone (it was too funny when the swan reached into the saxophone and got 'stuck' inside) too! It was refreshing to see that there was a band area dedicated for the music and for Robert to be having so much fun when doing it. While everything flowed through seamlessly, none of it felt choreographed and it was easy for the audience to immerse in the show and enjoy it with the actors.
3) Creative set and use of puppetry
The set was simple but innovative and the first thing we saw was a cut off tree trunk which symbolised the sycamore family tree. It doubled up as a stage and behind it was a changing area for Jennifer Greenwood who played the stick lady and all the other characters that Stick Man met. I was intrigued and curious by how they would act out the scenes with water and they cleverly made use of computer effects for the backdrop and a strip of blue paper holding the Stick Man and the swan together. The snow scene was another creative one but I'll leave that for you to find out how they did it!
4) Fun-loving cast and audience interaction
With David Shute as Stick Man himself, the trio of actors brought life to the stage and they made each scene so fun and engaging that captivated the audience, both young and old. I, for one, was afraid that I would have to leave the theatre halfway if the baby acted up but thankfully he was so interested in all the dancing and singing that he even started to move (actually, I mean jumping on Mama's lap) to the beat too. Knowing that it can be hard for young kids to sit still for 55 minutes, there were also segments that involved audience participation - for instance Stick Man would run to the audience and cut across a row of seats while escaping from the dog, we got the chance to hold our hands up high and attempt to catch the beach ball and we had to shout "Wake up" as loud as we could at the end when Stick Man dozed off. This was something that the girls thoroughly enjoyed and I bet they would remember it for a long time too.
5) A happy ending
To be honest, I couldn't quite remember how the story ended in the book so it was a pleasant surprise when Santa came to the rescue of Stick Man. We were tickled and impressed by how he managed to ride on his 'reindeer' together with Stick Man and that scene was definitely one of the most memorable ones. With the snow effect, wintry feel and Santa greetings, it would have been awesome if this was during Christmas but we loved it all the same now that it's Chinese New Year (can't expect 财神爷 to show up, right?). I tell you, my kids love happy endings so they were most glad, and relieved, when Stick Man found his home and returned to his wife and kids. Perhaps, in a sense, they were also hoping that their Daddy, who has been so terribly busy with his work since the year started, could also return home to spend more time with us too. Family sticks together, right?
All in all, we totally enjoyed the show and can't wait to read the book again. KidsFest has always been a delight for the girls and I'm just waiting for the baby to grow a little older so we can all sit down in comfort to enjoy world class theatrical shows together.
KidsFest 2017: Stick Man runs from 25th to 29th January at KC Arts Centre - Home of the SRT. Book your tickets here before it's too late!
Disclosure: We received a media invite to review KidsFest 2017: Stick Man. Production images are provided and all opinions are our own.