Fireman Sam - To the Rescue!
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Fri 8-Sun 10 Sep
Pre-school TV is big business these days. Barely has a character hit our small screens before somebody’s snapped up the rights and turned it into a blockbuster stage show. But is seeing your hero look the size of a pin at the end of a vast arena the best way to introduce children to theatre? Phil Derrick thinks not. In the past six years, Derrick has brought Noddy, Postman Pat and now Fireman Sam to venues throughout the UK ?" each one a charming adaptation of the original TV show.
‘I’ve had a lot of competition from arena shows in recent years,’ admits Derrick. ‘But people have said to me that although it was a wonderful spectacle, it’s nothing like sitting in a nice theatre and really feeling that Fireman Sam is talking to you. So we’ve found that if we take our own brand of hand-crafted, carefully scripted shows, and mimic the production values of those arena shows, it all works brilliantly.’
Derrick has been in close consultation with the Fire Brigade, who themselves use Fireman Sam as a fun way of teaching children about safety. As always, Derrick has used original songs to entertain and inform, with a little bit of audience participation thrown in. ‘Music has become such an integral part of our shows and the songs carry the story along,’ says Derrick. ‘Research shows that if children hear there’s a fire, they want to go and look at it. So we have a song called ‘Get Out, Stay Out’ - I hope children take note of the fire message as well as enjoying the show.’