A fantastical feast for the senses, Seussical transported us from the Jungle of Nool, to the tiny planet of Who on a journey of raucous laughter and magical musical numbers. It is by no means a small feat to undertake the creatively complex task of capturing the ever-enthralling world of Dr Seuss and his wondrous stories. However, this slick and energetic performance of Seussical the Musical did so nimbly and with undeniable vivacity and tenderness.
The Cat in the Hat (Hugh Summers) narrates the story of Horton the elephant (Roman Armstrong) who hears the Who people calling for help on a small speck of dust and embarks on a mission to rescue them, despite being mercilessly mocked by the rest of the animals. The only people who believe in him are Gertrude McFuzz (Ellie Klouda) his admiring neighbour and the self-interested Mayzie LaBird (Hebe Church).
Meanwhile, the son of the mayor of Whoville, Jojo (Ottilie Nye), is in trouble at school for his “Thinks” and is chastised by his parents and sent to bed, which does not stop his imagination running wild. Seussical is a light-hearted yet meaningful tale illustrating the power of imagination and the importance of friendship and kindness. After all: “a person is a person, no matter how small.”
Balancing the humorous and whimsical characters and stories with the tear-jerking moments and moral lessons was a great success within this production. I somehow found myself welling up as the play ended with Horton pulling out a baby elephant with bird wings from Mayzie’s egg. The physically impossible and totally ridiculous was injected with warmth and emotion thanks to the commitment and aptitude of the entire cast.
The ensemble was incessantly energetic and never faltered to utter a line or make a move. Every number was polished to perfection and I particularly enjoyed the lively and efficient choreography (Georgina Rosser).
Nye’s performance as the mischievous and adventurous Jojo was nothing short of fantastic, as she captured the free and unlimited nature of the imagination of a child with a simultaneous show of maturity and youth. Armstrong gave a fantastic performance as the endearing, kind and slightly naïve Horton. It was impossible not to root for Horton on his quest to save the Whos, whilst Hugh Summers’ Cat in the Hat sneaked in and out of the action to excellent comic effect. Jordan Jones as the Sour Kangaroo had the audience in stitches and in awe of his powerful vocals.
The creative team of co-directors Freya Parry and Nick Bond, with co-musical directors Parry and Dexter Drown truly outdid themselves. This was shown in the playful use of set: props were incorporated smoothly and effectively within the choreography (Rosser) to give the impression of the wondrous goings on of the play.
Seuss’ worlds of primary colours burst through in this larger than life production of Seussical. All of the cast had an abundance of energy and humour without losing the sentimental value of the catchy musical numbers. If you had the pleasure of seeing this show, think to yourself “How Lucky You Are”.