Friday, 20 July 2018

Audience not left down in the dump

There was youthful energy and audience participation in abundance in this interpretation of Clive King's childhood classic, Stig of the Dump, adapted for the stage by Mike Kenny and brought to us by the London Contemporary Theatre and Hounslow Arts Centre

Stig of the Dump
South Hill Park, Bracknell
Thursday, May 19

There was youthful energy and audience participation in abundance in this interpretation of Clive King's childhood classic, Stig of the Dump, adapted for the stage by Mike Kenny and brought to us by the London Contemporary Theatre and Hounslow Arts Centre. Everyone in the audience joined in the dancing, arm shaking and chanting to help this cast of just four add a little interactive sparkle to the show.

Young boy Barney and his sister Lou stay with their grandparents near the chalk Downs and it seems someone is inhabiting the local chalk pit. They go to explore and discover a strange, Neanderthal creature, Stig, who is animated through a mixture of puppetry and acting. Barney and Stig become quite good friends, playing amid the abandoned detritus of modern living, with a subtext of the virtues of being clean and green, reusing and upcycling. They communicate despite not sharing a common language, with Stig's caveman grunts ably understood by enthusiastic Barney.

In a nice touch, the cast asked the children in the audience to colour in some pictures during the interval and these were displayed on a washing line, to the artists' delight, with some of their names being called out. The players built in their own catchphrases for us to repeat in song, and Stig turned out to be a big fan of Jellybabies sweets. These musical interludes really brought the show alive and the kids were bopping and boogieing along.

Review by Natalie Aldred

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