Writer: Dr Seuss
Adaptor: Katie Mitchell
Director: Lillie Collier
Reviewer: Matt Forrest
“Look at me! Look at me! Look at me NOW! It is fun to have fun, but you have to know how.”
This is just one of the many quotable lines from the 1957 children’s classic, The Cat in the Hat, by Dr Seuss. The premise is simple: two children, Sally and her younger brother, are left home alone one rainy afternoon when they are visited by a very troublesome feline, intent on causing mirth and mayhem. The children have a great old time with the top hatted trickster, but can they get the house tidy before Mum comes home?
So beloved is this book that when comedy legend Mike Myers, attempted to recreate the mischievous cat in a film version of the same name back in 2003, he and the film were slammed by fans and critics alike. So it is at their peril, anyone who attempts to recreate the magic of this family favourite. It’s just as well that the director Lillie Collier and writer Katie Mitchell have done a terrific job, bringing the story to life. This show aimed at young children but to be honest it will tickle the funny bone of young and old alike.
The show opens with the children staring glumly out of the window; we are introduced to their pet fish, which lives in a large bowl, in the living room. The door bells rings and with the kids eager to relieve their boredom, they rush to see who is there. It’s at this point that the fish becomes their conscience, as she warns them not to let anyone in. Of course they ignore her and let the cat in….and the chaos commences.
Everything about this show screams fun. The production is first class and manages to enthrall its young audience; there is all manner of props and balls flying across the stage and some into the audience. My 3 year old niece loved the bubbles filling the theatre – you could the see the magic and joy on her face. All the cast embrace the anarchic nature of the story, succeeding to do justice to its source material. The chaos turns up a notch, with the introduction of ‘Thing 1 and Thing 2’, who zipped through the audience reminiscent of the Tasmanian devil from the Looney Tunes cartoons. The children lapped it up.
However what impressed most was the art direction and set design. The stage is so bright, colourful, and full of life, you cannot help but get sucked into this magical world which Dr Seuss has conjured up. Dr Seuss not only wrote, but also illustrated his books and would surely approve of David Shields’ vibrant set design.
At 45 minutes, the running time is pitched perfectly to hold the attention of younger audience members. This is good solid family fun; you’ll be hard pushed to find something this fun to do this Easter. As the cat says “its fun to have fun” and it most certainly is.
Reviewed on 7th April 2015