THE MUSICAL ‘Seussical’, based on the writings of children’s book author Dr Seuss, was being staged by the Limelight Company at the Webster Memorial Theatre, Arbroath, this week.
At the heart of the story is Horton the Elephant, and his attempt to protect the Whos, a very small species who live on a dust speck.
His mission to protect the Whos is messed up by many circumstances and obstacles, including Mayzie la Bird’s irresponsible parenting of her egg, which she eventually entrusts to Horton.
This is a polished performance by a cast of young people aged between eight and 16, with a little help from five ladies in an adult chorus, and three gentlemen on stage with the youngsters.
All credit to the production team, Chris O’Mara, Mike Carlin and Richard Allan, musical director, for a wonderful show.
They have skilfully trained the cast to a very high standard. Never work with children or animals it is said - there is even a dog in the show – but they have disproved that.
Richard conducts the business with the band, the chorus, and the youngsters with his usual mastery.
Chris and Mike are two of the gentlemen performing with the young people, as well as taking on the production.
Chris gives a very talented performance as the Cat in the Hat, stirring up trouble and fixing it again. Mike also shines in his part as Horton the Elephant, a gentle giant.
The costumes are clever and colourful. You may need to use your imagination to figure out which sort of creature you are looking at, but that’s part of the fun.
There’s something in the performance for everyone. There’s comedy, there’s pathos, there’s even a circus, but above all there are great songs with catchy tunes which get you tapping your feet. The young folks make a great job of the singing and dancing, and indeed the acting, with all the spoken words in rhyme.
The principals all give very credible performances. Georgia Gibson playing the Sour Kangaroo shows real attitude and sings a really jazzy version of her solos.
Then there’s the birds – bashful Gertrude McFuzz, desperately worried by her lack of tail feathers, played by Kirsty McDonald, who not only sings and acts well, but manages to control her tail feathers with aplomb; Jenna Ritchie as Mayzie La Bird whose solos are sung with great gusto; the Bird Girls, who are like Mayzie’s backing group Millie Creswell, Emily Sellars and Niamh McGonagel who are all worthy of the description songbirds.
The Whos, an entire race of small people are led by their very capable mayor, and his equally capable wife Mrs Mayor, played by Lewis Smith and Ailsa Wallace. They also have a son, Jojo played by Gregor Milne with all three giving admirable performances in their roles.
The Whos have a military presence in their midst, one General Gengus Khan Schmitz with this role is taken on by Ryan Tait, and he carries out his duties splendidly and in true military spirit.
Jamie O’Donnell plays the Grinch with skill and the Wickershams, three mischievous monkeys, played by Bella Robb, Greg Smith and Sinead Watson play their parts well, and in doing so cause chaos to many of the other characters.
The Judge, Yertle the Turtle, played by Finlay McDonald has to sort it all out at the end.