Think of all things you can think – when you think about Seuss!
Seussical, on at Gold Reef City’s Lyric Theatre, is that pitch-perfect holiday-time musical that the whole family can enjoy. Running at a lean 60 minutes, the musical’s use of Dr Seuss’s timeless stories and characters will entrance the younger family members while flooding nostalgia and memory through the older family members – and will add some toe-tapping to the bouncy, catchy tunes!
Directed with aplomb by Matthew Counihan, the wonderful set up of the stage – as a back garden, this could be anywhere, even in YOUR house – is used with great effectiveness by the cast, with washing lines full of clothes and sheets and a garden shed being used in a variety of ways, with simple household implements playing a variety of roles as props. This use of imagination-based dress-up extends to the costumes, with all sorts of creatures being built out of standard household items of clothing, mirroring the fantastical nature of childhood fancy and play.
The production itself is flashy, fun, and slick – the team’s social media says they only had 2 weeks to put this together, including rehearsal, which is a remarkable achievement!! – and the cast’s obvious enjoyment shines through in their performances. This is added to by Sebe Leotlela’s sparkling choreography and movement, as all the different animals in the Jungle of Nool are distinguished by their individual movements.
Mortimer Williams’ Horton anchors the show, playing a timid elephant afraid of his own size’s effect on the environment around him. Chantal Stanfield’s Gertrude McFuzz is a wonderful foil, making us sympathize with her one-feathered tail plight and unrequited love for Horton. However, the shining star of the show is Carly Graeme, who mainly portrays Mayzie La Bird, but also cameos in a variety of roles that showcase her wonderful physicality and superb comic timing. The rest of the cast each have their moments, with the now notably ubiquitous Yamikani Mahaka-Phiri turning in another predictably excellent performance. Danelle Cronje, Lois du Plessis, Danny Meaker, Abby Molz, Musanete Sakupwanya, and Sarah Richard all sparkle in their roles and as a collective, the cast are an absolute joy to watch.
The singing is tight and relatively polished, so credit must go to music supervisor Rowan Bakker and sound designer Mark Malherbe for coordinating the backing tracks. As mentioned above, Sarah Roberts’ scenery is the ideal complement to the story, setting the tone for the show from the get-go. Credit to &CO for putting on a production of this quality!
Seussical is the perfect musical to take the whole family to this holiday season – and it helps us all to remember that a person’s a person, no matter how small!
Seussical is on at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City from December 20 to January 12. Tickets are available from the box office and Computicket.