Flat Stanley has been adapted for the stage by Mike Kenny and performed at the West Yorkshire Playhouse by a cast of four British actors: Stewart Cairns (Stanley); Ian Bonar (Arthur); Lisa Howard (Mom); and Robin Simpson (Dad). All actors also play a variety of other characters including New York Cops, Doctor, Museum Manager and thief. Their performances as an all American family (and others) are superb, with the accents and mannerisms down to a tea.
When Stanley becomes ‘flat’, he is walked around as a puppet by ‘round’ i.e. ‘normal’ Stanley – actor Stewart Cairns who is also plainly visible working the puppet – as a concept this works well, and after a while you tend to stop noticing the presence of the actor, and focus on the Puppet. The play also features several annoyingly catchy tunes – especially the egg song ‘fried, boiled, poached, scrambled, yum, yum yum, yum, yum’ being one of them (which four days later is still in my head).
The suggested ages that this play would appeal to, are three to seven year olds, however there are a sprinkling of ‘adult’ jokes that the kids just wont get to keep Mums and Dads amused too (a few more would have been even better). This is the first ever stage adaption of Flat Stanley, and after seeing it, one can’t help but wonder if in future years a big screen version will follow.
Flat Stanley is running at the West Yorkshire Playhouse until the 13th January, tickets are priced £8.00.