The lean, green, Christmas-hating machine runs wild in this year’s holiday season production from The Fertile Theatre Company. This traditional Christmas fare provides the necessary ingredients for children’s entertainment although parents might wish for something more substantial.
Colourful, comfortable and competently executed, The Fertile Theatre Company’s musical, The Grouch Who Couldn’t Steal Christmas is, in short, a kids show.
Dr. Seuss’ original tale, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, has been a hit with children for the past 50 years and is a seasonal family favourite along with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. Loosely based on Dr Seuss’s works, The Fertile Theatre Company’s musical The Grouch Who Couldn’t Steal Christmas is a lively enough adaptation of the traditional Scrooge tale although suffered from vocal performances not being polished enough with the audience often struggling to hear the lyrics.
Much of the action is focused on the excellentNick Duke Crane as protagonist Phineas Grouch and Catherine Carpenter’s sickly-sweet Cindy Boohoo. Duke Crane is sly, energetic and engaging as the broken-spirited and heavy-hearted Scrooge character attempting to ruin Christmas for all in Whooterville whilst the cloying Carpenter won me over despite initial reservations.
Aside from Duke Crane and Carpenter, this musical adaptation was one-dimensional. Children’s theatre is at its best when providing kids with the delight of engaging characters and providing adults with shelter from irony and cynicism, whilst watching their offspring chortle along. It is this alchemy where The Fertile Theatre’s Production falls short. Playfully directed by Jessica McCloy Campbell and produced by Sophie Watson this sugary production charms its young audience but lacks the subtlety and depth that Christmas pantomime delivers to delight entire families.
Colourful, comfortable and competently executed, The Fertile Theatre Company’s musical, The Grouch Who Couldn’t Steal Christmas is, in short, a kids show. The littlest Who will certainly lap it up, although the biggest What may need a glass of something stronger to remove the sugary taste.