5-star Dr Seuss’s The Lorax at the Old Vic Theatre – Review

Laura Cubitt (Puppeteer), Ben Thompson (Puppeteer) and Simon Lipkin (The Lorax) - The Lorax at The Old Vic.
Laura Cubitt (Puppeteer), Ben Thompson (Puppeteer) and Simon Lipkin (The Lorax) – The Lorax at The Old Vic. Photos by Manuel Harlan. (1)

The Lorax is an utter delight. Simply magnificent! The show includes all that is wonderful about theatre: Great acting, catchy songs sung by talented singers who intersperse rhyming dialogue, smartly choreographed dancing, colorful and creative costumes, and a storyline that satisfies both young and old.

Take that perfect theatrical mix and then stage it at the historic Old Vic Theatre, and what you have is a show not to be missed. The very setting of The Old Vic, situated conveniently near Waterloo Station in London, is magical in itself, with its ornate interior and early nineteenth-century elegance.

Dr Seuss’s The Lorax, is based on a book published in 1971, by the fabled children’s author, Dr Seuss. The Lorax is a cleverly written tale that can be digested (and enjoyed) by all walks of life and all various ages.

In the audience were schoolchildren and adults, enjoying the performance equally. The children undoubtedly appreciated the animated puppets on stage and the actual Lorax himself, which was a puppet simultaneously articulated by three actors, each responsible for bringing to life the Lorax’ arms, legs, head, voice. There were also puppet fish and flying birds on stage, which were engineered with synchronized puppeteering skills that entertained the children and awed the adults.

The deeper story of The Lorax can be more thoroughly appreciated by adults. Dr Seuss utilized the platform of a children’s book to advertise his political and sociological views – in this case, the plight of the environment and the danger of corporate greed. The book was originally written in America in the 1960s, a decade that saw the rise of ecology awareness and liberal agendas, and the story of The Lorax feeds into this perfectly.

The story is about entrepreneurship gone awry at the expense the environment. A character called the Once-ler cuts down Truffula trees in order to obtain raw material to knit ‘thneeds, which everyone needs.’ Buoyed by his economic success, the Once-ler increases his production of knitted thneeds, which requires continued deforestation. By the end of the story, the imbalance of nature and greed is finally resettled. Dr Seuss has offered through The Lorax a thinly veiled version of his own political views which, thanks to his cunning storytelling ability, amuses and educates the audience all at once.

5 Star Rating


Review by Jennifer Daley

I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees!
Inspired by Dr. Seuss’s classic tale, The Lorax tells of a moustachioed and cantankerous critter who’s on a mission to protect the earth from the greedy, tree-chopping, Thneed-knitting businessman known only as The Once-ler.

Adapted by David Greig and brought to the stage by acclaimed director Max Webster (James And The Giant Peach, To Kill A Mockingbird, Twelfth Night), The Lorax blends theatrical invention, songs and zany humour in a timely and vibrant Christmas show with a message that will speak to audiences of all ages.
Recommended for ages 6+

Dr Seuss’s The Lorax
The Old Vic
103 The Cut, London, SE1 8NB

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