A Little Man's Holiday

A Little Man’s Holiday tells the tale of an office worker with a big imagination. Under the gaze of his nasty boss Mr Grumbles, will his day-dreams about sailing the seven seas ever become a reality? This talented children’s theatre company, PaddleBoat, has an imagination to match Little Man’s, and they tell his tale using a magical combination of song, audience interaction, and highly creative prop use.

This is a guaranteed family-pleaser of a show and PaddleBoat have proved themselves to be an excellent children’s theatre company.

The children in the audience are enthralled from the start, and as we file in, we are encouraged to climb the rigging, sweep the decks, and look out for sharks. It’s an immersive experience. Michael Smith is endearing as Little Man, and Katy Dash plays his delightful swashbuckling Mother. Harriet Brown and Stuart Cottrell are engaging narrators, supporting the story-telling with extra characters and beautiful piano-playing. The four performers are a strong team and move set around to create the worlds of city life and pirating adventure. A ship is evoked using just a pair of step-ladders, some cloth, a trunk, and a wheel.

Sophie Wanless provides strong technical support; the well-timed blue lighting creates a magical atmosphere as we delve beneath the sea waves. The diving sequence balances the show’s pacing, creating a feeling of relaxing ‘down-time’ which is also beautiful to watch. Jelly-fish made from clear umbrellas and fairy-lights wobble around the space, accompanied by the melodic chimes of Brown’s piano music. This company are masters of calm moments as well as frenetic exuberance.

The show’s finale successfully involves the audience. In order to kill the evil sea-weed pirate, we’re required to throw cannon-balls (scrunched up paper) at the stage. The children – and many adults – willingly oblige. This moment was a firm favourite with the children I talked to at the end of the show. Parents will find much to enjoy here too: certain lines such as that about a holiday-style ‘all-inclusive pirating adventure’ will raise a smile. The story is charming and the man who, rather than escaping his parents, goes on an adventure with his cooler mum promotes a warm message of parent-child bonding.

This is a guaranteed family-pleaser of a show and PaddleBoat have proved themselves to be an excellent children’s theatre company.

Reviews by Kate Wilkinson

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The Blurb

Set sail with PaddleBoat Theatre Company as we journey on the high seas with Little Man – an ordinary man who dreams of adventure. When his terrifying boss reveals the whereabouts of a mysterious treasure island, Little Man leaves his dull office life behind and finds himself swept along on an exhilarating pirate adventure, with only his mother and his imagination to help him along the way. Grab your treasure maps, bring all your imagination, and watch as Little Man realises he’s not so little after all.