Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Mesmerising display captured beauty and wonder of diversity

“IF everybody looked the same, we’d get tired of looking at each other,” or so goes the refrain in the Groove Armada song, and Seussical the Musical was a delightful display of the wonders of diversity.

Cleverly wrapping in lots of little Seussical moments and with a rainbow of characters of all shapes and sizes, this show was bursting with energy upon an elaborate stage setting that seemed to have been magicked straight from the pages of Dr. Seuss.

The creative team of director Mark Hooper, choreographer Charlotte Steele and Victoria Spearing captured the essence of the books to bring us as much as possible of the whole fandango — referencing Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, Horton Hears a Hoo and Green Eggs and Ham among others.

Among others there were preening birds, jumping monkeys, kangaroos, tiny people, Thing 1 and Thing 2 and of course the Grinch, Horton the Elephant and our compère and participant, the Cat in the Hat.

Chic, sassy and extravagant Mayzie Le Bird (Laura Hartley), who has itchy feet, had some excellent Motown riffs such as “Think!” and the nice lyrical pun “RESPE-CA” with a nod to the menagerie around us.

As she strutted her stuff, a quiet story unfolded where Gertrude McFuzz felt she was plain and invisible, while her friend Horton was too busy watching over his tiny friends the Hoos in some clover and trying to protect Jojo Hoo (Leo Burke) and his cohort. Gertrude experimented with beautification, Horton got roped into helping out Mayzie, and in the meantime the Cat in the Hat was being his usual mischievous but good-hearted self...

The costumes and scenery were nothing short of extraordinary, with Horton’s elephant ears, Gertrude’s transformations and Mayzie’s fabulous green sequined showbird outfit. Many of the characters’ features were honed to perfection to exactly replicate what we see in the books, which was some feat.

The collectives were all grouped together with little signature motifs, such as braces for the monkeys, stripey tights for the birds and neon orangey-purple combos for the Hoos, so the whole impression was one of glorious technicolor.

There were some wonderful scenes where the audience felt immersed in the goings-on, with a neon underwater section with jellyfish umbrellas, Dr. Seuss’s fish and then a cascade of bubbles on our heads, with people doing clever swimming effects on segways.

I loved the manoeuvres of the cheeky Cat in the Hat, from his first appearance to a neat demonstration of the mood-enhancing benefits of simply playing on a slide.

My kids loved it and in a word, the whole thing was mesmerising.

Until Monday.

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