If you have a chance to go to central London before school starts then make sure to include a visit to the Arts Theatre for a performance of Stig of the Dump. You will be welcomed with a cast of warm smiles and you will leave satisfied with a spring in your step. Based on the children’s book of the same title (first published in 1963), this is a classic tale of a boy, an unlikely friendship and a summer adventure that will leave him and his sister forever wondering what’s real and what’s imaginary.
London Contemporary Theatre’s tight production asks just the right amount of its young audience. Simple props signal character and scene changes without overwhelming the action or inviting distracting questions. The puppetry is an engaging element that’s carefully incorporated to portray the boy’s friend (the Stig), though it’s exciting to see how one of the actors is able to seamlessly transition to play the Stig in the action scenes. My six year old companion had no issue with this component and I think that’s a testament to the success of this production.
This is a carefully edited 55 minute experience complete with audience participation in the form of songs, call and response, dances and colouring. When else do you get to sing and shout ‘jelly baby’ in such a cathartic way? I recommend you go and try it. And with a brilliant cast including Katy Ashworth from Cbeebies, this is a summer hit that needs a bigger audience.