Tuesday 13 September 2016

Stick Man, that's me! Birmingham Town Hall show review

On Saturday, we headed to Town Hall - fast becoming one of our favourite places in Birmingham - for an afternoon of family fun. We, like many other families, are big fans of the children's author Julia Donaldson so when we heard that there was a new live production of Stick Man, we couldn't wait to see how they would translate the story to the stage.

"I'm Stick Man, I'm Stick Man, I'm Stick Man - that's me!"

As we took our seats, the whole hall was a babble of excited children and Ethan was quite literally on the edge of his seat, trying to get first sighting of Stick Man himself.

We were sat in the upper circle area. I haven't sat there before but actually, for shows with little ones in tow, it's quite a good choice. Down in the main hall stalls, you are slightly closer to the stage, but being in the upper level, you have tiered seating so there's a good view for everyone (although Birmingham Town Hall also provide child booster seats, should you need them, which is really helpful).

I was interested to find out how they would tell the tale. We went to see We're Going On A Bear Hunt at Town Hall last year, and it was a similar concept; three actors, a multi-functional stage and clever props and set design to tell the story, all with songs and music and interactive parts, where characters or props come into the audience, much to squeals of delight.

For Stick Man, there were props of Stick Man, his Lady Love and stick children three, then the actors were the representation of these characters, picking them up when speaking, or when Stick Man was being passed around, the actor would be playing along. The Stick Man actor was particularly good; we saw him in Bear Hunt too and he was really expressive and had a great singing voice too.

It took Ethan a little while to work out what was happening, as obviously Stick Man (the prop) is rather small and we had to explain the interpretation to him.

He was so into the show, though, laughing along when they were being silly, calling out and getting excited for the arrival of Santa before that part of the story came round - shows how much he loves Stick Man!

The show was around an hour 15 minutes and Ethan was enthralled throughout. It was just the right length for little ones and the atmosphere was great.

The story was well told (amazing to see how they can draw out a short children's story!), the actors were energetic and the simple yet clever way they used the stage design and props was fascinating to watch and really gave the whole production a magic feel for the children.

We love these kinds of shows and I think it's good value too - around £12.50 a ticket - as it's wonderful to see Ethan being so intrigued and excited and it's something special to do as a family. He really enjoyed it and woke up still singing the Stick Man songs the next morning.

There's always lots of family friendly events, as well as comedy shows and music to enjoy at Town Hall and Symphony Hall. I'll be going to see Sue Perkins, of Bake Off fame, there this Sunday (after the talk, she's doing a book signing - included within your ticket) and there's a few other children-centric shows coming up soon too that look lots of fun.

* I'm a blogger ambassador for Town Hall Symphony Hall, but all opinions are our own.

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