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REVIEW: The Stick Man--Words BookstoreCafe? Bahrain.

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JUST this once I am almost struck dumb! I went to see a performance of a children's short play The Stick Man by Julia Donaldson (adapted by the performers themselves) at Words BookstoreCafe? on Sunday.

I left the performance asking myself if the two main protagonists, Ruqaya Aamer and Sowsan Hassan were my new heroes or are both clinically insane?

No one in their right mind would put on a production that was part panto, part slapstick and part ...

well just sheer fun, in a bookshop, with no stage, no backdrop and very little in the way of props or costumes!

Yet not only did these two very talented young ladies do just that, they managed to draw in their audience, who in the main were slightly older than the recommended age of three to five years old and their unwitting parents!

Basically, poor little Stick Man went out for a jog leaving his loving wife and family at home. He was mauled by a dog, utilised as an arm by a child making a snowman, forced to be a Pooh Stick (think Winnie The Pooh), played with in the sand. The list just goes on and on.

The entire production was spoken in prose and rhyme and had us all in stitches as the antics of the hapless Stick Man and his would- be-users romped around the albeit small space. Even the close, sometimes too close, proximity of the audience didn't make them break character once.

This was five-star entertainment performed with a two-star budget. Yet it worked. In fact it did far better than work, it delighted and entertained.

I have no idea whose idea formed the basis of the choreographed end sequence between Santa stuck up the chimney and Stick Man trying to enable his escape, but it was in the word of one of the audience ... an 'ace'!

Sowsan, who teaches at St Christopher's School, and Ruqaya who teaches at The British School of Bahrain are two forces to be reckoned with and I for one will queue up to see anything they put on in future.

Oh, and by the way, having helped Santa deliver presents to everyone with a sledge flown by a dragon, so believable that when Stick Man announced one little boy had been set on fire by the dragon, a little girl cried; Stick Man managed to get home to his loving wife and family.

We all left totally entranced after a magical half hour. May there be many more plays from these multi-talented young ladies! I for one would queue up to see them again.

- Christine Hasan

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Publication:Gulf Weekly
Date:Dec 24, 2014
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