This production of The Cat in the Hat brings the beloved Dr Seuss tale to life, almost as if the characters have stepped straight out of the book.
This is a sharp, vibrant and deliciously daft story told beautifully and perfectly for children.
The story is of Sally and her brother who, one rainy day when their mother is out, let a talking Cat in a Hat into their home, who promises to give them a day of fun games and tricks. The play sticks almost entirely to the text of the book’s rhymin, and the set and costumes are just like the illustrations. Both the vibrant colours and the style of Dr Seuss are wonderfully evoked. I particularly liked the clever use of the puppet for the fish, who tells the cat off for the havoc he causes. The sound effects are also fabulous and very humorous.
The Cat enters by peeking his tail, then his foot through the door, much to the delight of the children. He then backs onto the stage before pouncing with a loud, dramatic meow into his flamboyant role. He was played very cheekily and mischievously; the children in the audience were cheering in excitement and laughing loudly at his nonsense. He’s over the top and easily amused, but children love his cartoonish style and rhyming chatter.
Thing One and Thing Two, the Cat’s mischievous friends, are also a favourite. They danced through the crowd hyperactively and wreaked havoc all over the place, teasing the children. The characters might be a little in-your-face for small children; some of the littlest ones cried in fright at their approach. Most however found them hilarious and reached for the Cat as he passed them.
Lots of blow-up beach balls and footballs were thrown into the crowd as Things One and Two caused their mayhem, much to the glee of all the children. They were very effective in conveying the havoc and loss of control caused by the Cat’s friends. There is also good use of slow motion effects, such as when the Cat falls from his balancing ball and later when Thing One and Thing Two fly their kites around the house, knocking things over.
They close with an upbeat dance sequence and the children around me seemed genuinely disappointed to see the Cat vanish from sight. This is a sharp, vibrant and deliciously daft story told beautifully and perfectly for children. It’s like a very classy pantomime. It’s brimming with energy and childish laughs. I can’t think of anything more that they could have done to better bring Dr Seuss’ work to life.