Stig of the Dump at the Arts Theatre
Following a tour around the UK, London Contemporary Theatre comes to the West End with an upbeat version of Stig of the Dump, Clive King’s classic children’s novel first published in 1963 and now adapted by Olivier Award winning playwright Mike Kenny. For the London performances the cast is joined by actress and entertainer Katy Ashworth, best known for her work on CBeebies, whose wonderful storytelling skills add an extra spark to the show.
A young boy named Barney lives with his grandparents and sister Lou. One day, boredom leads him to wander outside, and when he falls into a chalk pit he discovers a caveman living in a dumpster. He decides to call the young boy Stig, and in spite of the difficulty in communicating verbally they become good friends. Back at home, no one believes Barney when he tells them of his new companion of adventures, but Stig’s influence on the household becomes gradually more prominent.
Touching on valuable life lessons and concepts such as recycling and barter, Stig of the Dump has a rich social dimension that also includes ever pertinent themes such as integration and the breaking of cultural barriers. The prevalent mood of the production, however, is one of light-heartedness and cheer. The constant flow of songs and larger-than-life storytelling, accompanied by dances requiring audience participation, keep children glued to the action throughout.
The set is an explosion of junk items piled or scattered across the space. The junkyard represents Stig’s abode but it also doubles up as Barney’s eccentric family home. A combination of puppetry and sing-alongs means that the energy is always high, but the element of magic is perhaps lost among the bustle, leaving little opportunity to be emotionally involved in the story and really understand the dynamics of Stig and Barney’s friendship. Overall, this is a greatly entertaining show for children, who will likely leave the theatre repeating the songs and dances they’ve learnt.
Stig of the Dump is on at the Arts Theatre from 23rd July until 26th August 2016. Book your tickets here.