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Review of Seussical The Musical Arts Theatre London 2013

SeussicalThe Cat in the Hat is back, along with Horton, The Whos and a Sour Kangaroo…

In fact a whole host of favourite Dr Seuss characters come together in this aptly titled musical production of Seussical, which has been reworked for younger audiences since debuting on Broadway in 2000.

Horton the elephant (Ste Clough) has heard a Who… But as a Who is a tiny person who lives on a planet the size of a speck of dust, nobody believes him.

He’s ridiculed by the monkeys, laughed at by the kangaroo and taken advantage of by Mayzie la Bird (Jessica Parker). Only Gertrude McFuzz (Kirsty Marie Ayers) is there for him, but he hasn’t noticed her.

Meanwhile in Whoville poor JoJo (Jordan Veloso in his professional debut) is thinking too many thinks… And not just because the Cat in the Hat (Elliot Fitzpatrick) is encouraging him.

The stage and costumes are simple but effective, with bright colours and discreet accessories that hint at the animal. Children who know the story will easily recognise their favourite characters and adults will appreciate the initial animalistic characterisations, although these tail off towards the end of the show.

The cast are mainly younger performers, but they all attack their roles with gusto and impressive energy. It’s clear they’re all really enjoying themselves and even though some of the songs are lost through poor enunciation, this doesn’t really affect the overall impression of the performance.

Ayers as the bird with only one feather in her tail, and Veloso as ‘the smallest of all’ are both delightful – very cute and believable as their characters. The three bird girls are also a pleasure to watch while Clough is adorable as the elephant who is loyal 100 per cent.

Music and lyrics by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens are charming and fun and get instantly stuck in your head, remaining there for several days, especially the rousing Green Eggs and Ham.

As Dr Seuss himself said, “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient for living,” and no matter what your age, there’s no denying that this production is bizarre, whacky and colourful. You may even leave talking in rhyme!

Review by Michaela Clement-Hayes

SEUSSICAL (Theatre for Young Audiences Version)
Music by Stephen Flaherty, Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Book by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty
Co Conceived by Eric Idle
Based on the works of Dr. Seuss
Running Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
SUITABLE FOR AGES: One to One Hundred!
Show Opened: 30th November 2013
Booking Until: 5th January 2014

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