Seussical: Southwark Playhouse, London
Reviewed 27th November 2018
The magical world of Dr Seuss is brought to life on stage by Eric Idle and Tony Award winners Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty. This cheerful musical follows much-loved characters including the Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz and many more on a magical, fun-filled adventure from the Jungle of Nool, to the Circus McGurkus, to the tiniest planet in the sky, Whoville. Billed as being for ‘thinkers’ this musical is actually for anyone and everyone. Audiences of all ages will be charmed by its witty approach, heartfelt storyline and humour.
This production of Seussical is specially arranged and produced with families in mind. Perfect for families, at just 75 minutes straight through it certainly makes an entertaining alternative to the usual Christmas pantomime. The story focuses on loyalty, family and acceptance and dares the audience to think big. After all, ‘a person’s a person no matter how small!’
Immersion Theatre have gone to every effort to create a fantastic production of Seussical and they certainly achieve it. From a talented cast to a clever set, bright lighting and slick choreography it’s a fantastic show. The cast are superb. Marc Pickering is perfectly cast as the mischievous Cat in the Hat. His comic timing is outstanding and he certainly knows how involve the audience. In fact, audience participation throughout the show has been thought about carefully and further adds to the overall appeal. Scott Paige’s Horton is both moving and humorous as we follow Horton’s adventure while he stays true to his word to help his friends. His moving song ‘It’s Possible‘ is just one of the many highlights of the night. Amy Perry’s versatile voice works brilliantly as Gertrude the one feather tailed bird. Anna Barnes’ endless enthusiasm and cheerfulness as JoJo makes a great contrast to Horton who is forever mocked and bullied by the others. Whilst the entire cast are outstanding, a special mention must also go to Adam Dawson who succeeds effortlessly at playing various different characters throughout the show with complete conviction.
The score, by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty is fun, lively and catchy. Due to the rhyming nature of Dr Seuss you’d be mistaken for thinking that the lyrics may be a bit predictable or limited but in fact they are clever, witty and often moving. The multi-level set, designed by Justin Williams and Jonny Rust, bright costumes by Rachel Cartlidge, and the clever props further add to the fun factor of this show.
Whilst this is a show that is family orientated it has many levels to it. Children will be entertained by the bright, vivid costumes and magical characters but there are enough topics and threads running through the show to ensure that adults will also enjoy this fun-filled show, perhaps even more so. It’s definitely a show that adults won’t need to feel the need to ‘borrow’ a child to see. True, this show tackles issues around body image, bullying and self confidence but overall it’s a perfect piece of theatre to lose yourself in, sit back and get lost in a world of make believe, fast paced adventures and colourful characters. It’s refreshing to see such a brilliantly fun and meaningful production, particularly aimed at families where sometimes the plot and characters are ‘dumbed down’. Fans of Dr Seuss, families and anyone wanting to escape from reality for an evening should definitely head to Seussical at the Southwark Playhouse this Christmas. This show completely epitomises Dr Seuss’ saying ‘Why fit in when you were born to stand out?’ and Seussical stands out for all the right reasons.
Seussical is playing at the Southwark Playhouse in London until the 29th December 2019. For information or tickets click here.
Photo Credit: Adam Trigg