Book and Lyrics: Timothy Mason
Music: Mel Marvin
Additional Music and Lyrics: Albert Hague & Dr Seuss
UK Director: Matt August
Christmas at The Lowry is usually a little bit special; they always go for something fresh and a little different: usually shunning the traditional pantomime for a family favourite, it has not always been festive, but it has always been fun!
Well this time around, they have gone full Christmas with, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical. Based on the Dr Seuss story this is a fun, silly, joyous tale that will melt the coldest of hearts.
With the faithful, loyal dog Old Max (Griff Rhys Jones) acting as narrator, we are transported to the land of Whoville, and it’s inhabitants the kind, sweet-natured yet slightly OTT Whos: they LOVE Christmas, and celebrate in style, with lots of decorations, presents, and a massive feast of a beast!
There is one person isn’t a fan of the Whos and Christmas and that is The Grinch (Edward Baker-Duly), an egotistic genius, who lives a hermit’s life in a cave way above town, his only company is his dog, Young Max (Matt Terry). Sick, angry, and fed up with the Whos’ festive and cheery spirit The Grinch hatches a plan to ruin Christmas, by raiding their homes taking their presents, food, and decorations. However, could this plan be thwarted by a chance encounter with a young girl, Cindy Lou Who? (Isa Gie)
This is a magical production filled with humour and whimsy, and at the heart of it all is a towering performance from Baker-Duly as the far from jolly green giant. He commands and holds your attention throughout, and perfectly captures the spirit of this narcissistic villain. The Grinch costume looks fantastic, bright green, hairy, this along with Baker-Duly’s performance are everything you want from your Grinch.
There is fine support from Matt Terry, bringing fun and playfulness to the role of Young Max, whilst Griff Rhys Jones brings some star power, to the role of Old Max, he is clearly having fun in the role. However, it is Isla Gie who steals the show, with her adorable turn, as Cindy Lou Who, what a presence, what a voice. For someone so tiny, she can’t half belt out and tune and is a huge stage presence.
The script is faithful to the source material from complete, Dr Seuss’ trademark rhyming couplets and playfulness with language is still there. There are several musical numbers, the pick of the bunch being You’re a Mean One Mr Grinch, and It’s the Thought That Counts. However, it is the songs that are my main gripe with the show, there are no memorable or standout tracks, often repeated and all sounding very similar.
Where this production does shine, is its aesthetic, the costumes by Robert Morgan and the glorious set design by John Lee Beatty look amazing, quirky, striking filled with big, bold colours, as well as staying faithful to the original artwork: the production looks and feels like a living, breathing cartoon.
This is a treat of a show for both adults and children alike and one that is well worth catching over the holiday period, with everything you want in a Christmas show, funny, heartfelt and full of festive cheer!
Runs until 5 January 20209 | Image: Contributed