FestivalsReviewSouth East

BRIGHTON FRINGE: An Adult Dr Seuss – The Warren: The Nest

Writer: Geoff Allnutt

Reviewer: Simon Topping

Veteran performance poet, Geoff Allnutt, AKA The Speech Painter, is obsessed with all things Dr Seuss; from the environmental Lorax and all his classic children’s verse to his more obscure output in advertising and propaganda films in World War Two. It is this love of the man behind the books, Theodore Geisel, that has led Allnutt to base a piece around those works and create parodies for an adult audience.

A Seuss A-Z nicely links the show together, it is the way that Allnutt can add in some interesting facts in about Geisel as he goes on as well as trying to briefly mention as much of the author’s output as he possibly can.

To start us off, A is for Advertising. Not many in the room know this is how Geisel started his career. Flit Bug Spray was an advertising hit for him. This is just one of many interesting factoids that pop up as the performance continues.

C is for Cat in The Hat, here Allnutt unleashes his fabulous parody: Twat in the Flat. Written in the exact same style and following Seuss’ poetic rules the poem is a fun romp into the story of a mischievous drug dealer who tries to lure flat tenants into a debauched narcotics binge rather than pay their rent. Allnutt delivers this with a zing; quickly, accurately and with rhythmic prowess.

When we get to G for Grinch, Allnutt and his guitarist play a David Lynch-inspired pastiche that has those audience members who can pick out the references in stitches of laughter.

More Seuss facts and take-offs come thick and fast as the night goes on. Allnutt keeps up a vigorous pace, he has a lot to get through. He is an amiable, engaging poet who connects well with his receptive crowd. He delves into the structure and rules of the verse Geisel laid out for himself. “Poetry must have rules!” Allnutt exclaims. It is an interesting insight into the medium.

The biggest applause and cheers come from his take on Green Eggs and Ham, which is changed for the songs of Wham. It is an excellent slice of comedy lampooning, done with the utmost affection.

The show is an entertaining hour, bore out of Allnutt’s deep enthusiasm and love of Dr Seuss. It encourages the viewing public to rediscover the gems in the Seuss canon and to explore, once again, this time as adults, in a mad world of Zorax, Whos and many, many more. A fun and delightful activity to encourage. All adults could do to wonder more.

Reviewed on 26 May 2019 | Image: Contributed

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