Cute and crazy musical comedy
By Deborah Langley
The Athenaeum stage was at bursting point last night for the opening of Seussical: The Musical when the 25+ cast from Old Carey Performing Arts Club brought all your high school musical fantasies to bear in this larger-than-life production.
Based on the extraordinary children’s books by Dr Seuss and after the runaway success of the Broadway version of this magical tale, the show is a song-and-dance feast for the little people in your life.
The story follows the adventures of Horton the Elephant (Sam McPartlan), who one day hears voices coming from a speck of dust. He soon discovers that within this tiny speck exists the smallest planet in the sky and on this tiny planet is a race of creatures, known as the Whos, that need his help. Horton does everything in his power to save them because ‘a person’s a person, no matter how small.’
While the premise of the production relies on a clever lighting design by Giancarlo Salamanca and a childlike imagination, we are introduced to many new creatures and jungle animals – some easier to envision than others – as we get thrown around from story to story in this crazy Seuss world.
The highlight by far is the vocals of the amazing cast: Eleanor Horsburgh gave a cute and comically infectious performance as Gertrude with her lovely voice and characterisation, and Elise Cavallo was appropriately amazing as Mayzie with her powerful vocals and brilliant back-up birds (Charlie Helliwell, Samantha Paulin and Sarah Cuthbert). Andreas Katsiroubas as Jojo sang well and gave a solid performance, but Cat in the Hat (Mark Yeates) only came into his own in his audience interaction in Act Two (although some of his antics seemed to verge on inappropriate for a family show). Professional musical theatre performer Nicholas Renfree-Marks (The Wind In The Willows) was the stand-out as Sour Kangaroo, channeling both Freddy Mercury and Aretha Franklin in his memorable performance.
Playing at the Athenaeum Theatre from Monday 7 April, OCPAC’s Seussical: The Musical will inspire your children to imagine anything is possible, even if the second act leaves them a little dumbfounded as to how. It’s just a shame they can’t appreciate the amazing orchestra directed by Daniel Donovan who are hidden away behind a scrim until curtain call.
Venue: Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins St, Melbourne
Dates: Monday 7th through Monday 21st April (for times, see below)
Tickets: $30 adult, $19 children under 16. $79.80 Group of 4 ($19.95 per ticket)
Bookings: Ticketek, Comedy Fest Box office, at the door
Times: Monday 7 April 6:00PM, Monday 14 April 11:00AM
Tuesday 8 April 2:00PM, Tuesday 15 April 2:00PM
Thursday 10 April 11:00AM, Thursday 17 April 11:00AM
Friday 11 April 11:00AM, Saturday 19 April 11:00AM
Saturday 12 April 11:00AM, Monday 21 April 6:00PM