Tag Archives: Freckle Productions

Stick Man – 3.5 Stars

Stick Man

Leicester Square Theatre

Reviewed – 21st October 2018


“the whole cast consistently kept a sparky energy and played well to the audience”


Stick Man, one of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s many much-loved children stories, is now enjoying a stage adaptation by Freckle Productions, in a show that lifts the charm and appeal off the page and delivers it to families across a sizzling forty five minute romp.

The plot sees the titular Stick Man (Jack Benjamin) taken on a perilous adventure after being swept away from his stick family by a dog (Kate Malyon, also playing everything from a swan to a very aggressive schoolgirl) during a jog in the park; he keeps getting used and abused in different scenarios until he ends up in need of some serious help to be reunited with stick wife and children. Euan Wilson rounds out the cast, chiefly providing music (composed by Benji Bower) on all manner of instruments that provides a gleeful timbre to the action on stage. The interplay between Wilson on the saxophone and Malyon’s swan was particularly enjoyable, although the whole cast consistently kept a sparky energy and played well to the audience.

Stick Man employs a number of everyday objects in its design (Katie Skyes) that allows for the cast and director Mark Kane to let them ooze creativity when used in performance, such as a roll of blue wallpaper wrapped between two cast members acting as a river, or using umbrellas to depict a raging ocean. The results are visually delectable, and keep the audience constantly engaged as to what innovative use of regular paraphernalia will be utilised next.

The style of the show takes a number of cues from pantomime, featuring a chase through the audience, a game of catch with a beach ball, and – yes – even a ‘they’re behind you’ moment. This works wonders to invite the audience into the story, and it is telling that the sections which did not feature any participation are the ones where the audience grew restless, giving the feeling that Stick Man should have embraced a few more opportunities to include the audience.

The source material has some issues if you’re looking closely, such as that the entire journey Stick Man goes on doesn’t see him learn anything or change, and there’s no especially interesting lesson to take from the story. Crucially, however, by and large the children adored it, and were uncontainably engrossed by the show’s end. Parents looking for an alternative to the usual panto this Christmas will find a lot on offer here.

Reviewed by Tom Francis

Photography by Paul Blakemore


Leicester Theatre

Stick Man

Leicester Square Theatre until 6th January


Previously reviewed at this venue:
Murder, She Didn’t Write | ★★★ | February 2018
Sh*t-faced Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice | ★★★★ | April 2018
Sh*t-faced Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet | ★★★★ | June 2018
Murder She Didn’t Write | ★★★★ | September 2018
Sh*t-faced Showtime: Oliver With a Twist! | ★★★ | September 2018


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Review of Tiddler & Other Terrific Tales – 5 Stars

Tiddler thespyinthestalls

Tiddler & Other Terrific Tales

Leicester Square Theatre

Reviewed – 11th July 2017




“The show was so captivating that no one wanted to miss a moment – I don’t think I have ever witnessed such a quiet room of small children!”


What do you get when you combine live saxophone and accordion with catchy songs AND an extremely impressive array of props? The answer – a production that brings such joy to children and adults alike.

Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler’s beloved characters such as Tiddler The Fish, Monkey and of course The Smartest Giant all have their moment in this weird and wonderful display of artistic excellence.

The music and lyrics play a key role, with Benji Bowers (2 times Olivier Award nominee and Winner of Global independent film awards for Best original soundtrack for Weekend Retreat) at the helm.

Combining jazz rhythms, three part vocal harmony and various instrumental interludes, the audience feel as though this is part theatre show and part concert. It is ideal for parents who want to introduce their children to live music at an early age, as it isn’t too intrusive but fits perfectly into the story lines.

I loved how the costumes were wacky and yet even they had some significance to the story, when their stripy socks represented the characters of the caterpillars.

The set was made up of various ladders, crates and baskets, perfect for hiding objects and characters. This gave the actors plenty of space to improvise and come up with new ideas, should the opportunity arise.

The quality of acting and performing was astounding, as a trio of trained actors/musicians (Leonie Spilsbury, Lauren Silver and Brian Hargreaves), they shared character roles between them and were often juggling a prop, instrument and character all at once.

You might expect disruptions from such a young audience, however the show was so captivating that no one wanted to miss a moment – I don’t think I have ever witnessed such a quiet room of small children!

Reviewed by Stephanie Legg

Photography by Robin Savage


Leicester Sqaure Theatre


is at the Leicester Square Theatre until 3rd September



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