Theatre Review: The Gingerbread Man, Jacksons Lane, Highgate
PUBLISHED: 14:49 05 December 2018
A charming gentle and imaginitive telling a simple fairytale
Hiccup Theatre’s charming show for 3-7-year-olds begins with the three performers coming to chat to their young audience about their favourite cakes and buns - before launching into an original song of the same title.
It’s a gentle introduction to this slight - and slightly odd - tale of an elderly couple of bakers who one day cook up a special biscuit, which bursts out of their oven determined to be eaten by the ‘fastest and cleverest’.
While they want to wrap the (puppet) biscuit in cotton wool - or tuck him up in an oven glove - he’s keen to fulfil his destiny.
On a packing crate set, the performers make deft touches to conjure the various scenes, as The Gingerbread Man flees the bakery and meets first a lazy cow, then a vain horse, and finally a cunning fox (another great puppet) who offers to carry him across the river.
The town is full of busy folk who’d love a biscuit with their tea, but they are too selfish to catch this runaway talking cookie.
Wooden spoons become forests, a croissant doubles as a moustache, and green turf is unfurled from a crate.
Whether drumming on a bowl, playing the spoons, or picking out a tune on their flute, ukelele and guitar, the actor/musicians - effortlessly integrate the music into a story, which lightly touches on the problem of helicopter parenting and fear of the unknown.
And while the show lacks some of the dynamism, exhilirating humour and audience participation of first rate children’s theatre, it’s a good-natured 55 minute entertainment that had us clapping along and perversely willing our ginger hero to be snapped up by old foxy.
The Gingerbread Man runs at Jacksons Lane Theatre, Highgate until December 24