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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

Seussical The Musical

Empire Theatre, Liverpool
June 27 – June 30

Director: Sharon Henderson
Producer: West Kirby Light Opera Society
Cast includes: Luke Sandford, David Cope, Mark Gardener, Sarah Hardman, Samantha Arnold, David Crosby
Running time: 2 hrs 20 mins

Image: Promo image for 'Seussical The Musical'


LIVERPOOL, EMPIRE THEATRE


If there’s one thing that Director, Sharon Henderson, and The West Kirby Light Opera Society cannot be accused of, it is of being shy. This production of Seussical The Musical – following on from their award winning success of last year’s Titanic The Musical – is, to say the least, vast. Vast sets, vast costumes, vast numbers and such vast amounts of talent on display, many a professional production would be put to shame.

Based on the beloved characters and stories of Dr. Seuss, Seussical the Musical follows the adventures of Horton, an elephant who one day hears voices coming from a speck of dust. He soon discovers that within this tiny speck exists the smallest planet in the universe and upon this tiny planet, live a tiny race of creatures known as Whos. Although ridiculed by the other animals in the Jungle of Nool for believing in something he cannot see, Horton stubbornly persists in his belief that the Whos exist. Meanwhile, the citizens of Who are having some adventures of their own, including a war over which side of the bread gets buttered. Jojo, the smallest child in the city of Who, parallels Horton's journey as he is ostracized for the unpopular act of thinking--an activity not encouraged by the parents and teachers of Whosville. But in spite of these obstacles, Jojo and Horton attempt to do what they think is right.

However, their path will not be easy. Horton is sold to the Circus McGurkus and eventually goes on trial before Judge Yertle the Turtle before the other animals of the jungle come to understand, as Horton has always known, that “A person's a person, no matter how small.” During the course of the story, the Cat in the Hat pops in and out of scenes, narrating, playing numerous characters, and helping the younger members of the audience keep track of what's going on, which at times is just as well.

This is a complicated piece of theatre which – it has to be said, overall – is made to look astonishingly easy. With David Cope playing Cat with such skilled ease, it is simple to believe that here indeed is the controller of the Universe as we know it, with young Luke Sandford playing JoJo with equal aplomb and versatility. David Crosby, playing General Ghengus Khan Scmitz, is disturbingly “real” as a war crazed American who believes that war is “good for boys”, whereas Samantha Arnold in the role of Mayzie La Bird – the bored mother of an egg she doesn’t want – is so deliciously self-obsessed, she might live on any housing estate the world over. Stars of the show, however, are Mark Gardener as Horton The Elephant – replete with splendidly oversized tie in place of a trunk – and Sarah Hardman, as Gertrude McFuzz – the bird with the world’s smallest tail who all too soon regretful of what she wishes for. Both had exceptional singing voices and both, quite literally, lived their roles and gave everything they had.

With a cast of over seventy, with each having an eye-poppingly spectacular costumes, and with more scene changes than a Laurence Llewellyn Bowen Christmas special, it is the show-stopping stage numbers that one remembers most and, in particular, the jaw – droppingly surreal Hunch number which sees the entire cast dressed in luminous rubber gloves and pumps, dancing in the dark.

WKLOS production of Seussical The Musical is, without question, an absolute triumph and the challenge has been hereby laid down for any professional company to match it, let alone top it.
9/10

www.wklos.org.uk

Click here to view details and book for the Liverpool Empire Theatre
http://www.getlive.co.uk/liverpool


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