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Flat Stanley

10 December 09 words: Alison Emm
He may be flat but he's a hero! Lakeside bring their 50s themed Flat Stanley to Nottingham this Christmas
The Lamchops discover their newly flattened son, Stanley
Photo: Alan Fletcher

Lakeside have always bucked the Christmas trend of putting on a panto over the festive period and this year is no different with their production of the modern children’s classic, Flat Stanley. It may not require any shouts of “He’s behind you!” but that’s not always a bad thing…

Stanley Lambchop is a young boy who, after an unfortunate accident with a notice board, ends up a mere half an inch thick. Not all bad, but not all good either - Flat Stanley is the tale of the adventures and challenges him and his family face with his new 2D body. From retrieving Mrs Lambchop’s ring from a grate in the street to being a kite for his brother and catching a cat burglar at a local museum - he’s definitely a hero. 

Unfortunately, there are problems that come hand in hand with being flat. Stanley’s brother, Arthur, becomes jealous of all the attention that Stanley is receiving, Mrs Lambchop struggles to cope with the two boys and Stanley has to deal with being a novelty one minute and a freak the next. Thankfully, all of this is resolved in the all singing and dancing finale and the tale has a happy ending. 

The Lambchops send Stanley on a cheap holiday
Photo: Alan Fletcher

The potential problem of the flatness of the lead character is imaginatively dealt with on stage by putting Richard Dale (Stanley) in a flat fronted costume and using projectors to make it look like he’s slipping down a grate and under doors. With a cast of only four, they play the Lambchop family of Mr and Mrs Lambchop, Stanley and his brother, Arthur as well as the madcap extras including inept policemen, a careless doctor and a lisping museum curator. A brilliant turn by all, especially Ross McLeod who plays the young, at times hilariously sulky, Arthur and Richard Dale who manages to cartwheel in his awkward flat suit. 
Lakeside’s production is a bright, colourful, American 50s inspired take on the tale; director Matt Aston was aiming for a ‘Hairspray for children’ and he’s hit the mark. Running at about an hour long, the show is full of song and dance and you’ll be lucky to escape without wanting to break into one of the catchy songs whilst doing jazz hands.
Flat Stanley is playing at the Lakeside Arts Centre until Sunday 3 January 2010.


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