The Cat in the Hat Review
Our young roving reporter, Orla, visited the Curve theatre to review The Cat in the Hat. We were very excited as it is our favorite movie and had heard great things about Suba Das, who is the Curve’s Associate Director.
The world of Dr Seuss, as seen in all 45 of the books he wrote and illustrated, is beyond the everyday. It is the land of fantasy, a place where there are no rules, and creativity is celebrated purely for itself and what can be discovered. Suba Das, Associate Director at the Curve, directs this with obvious delight and in association with the National Centre for Circus Arts, which gives a clue as to what might be involved. Together, they have captured the wonderfully anarchic world of Dr Seuss and brought the pages of the book to life.
The audience meets Sally (Melissa Lowe) and her brother (Sam Angell), who are trying to entertain themselves when ‘The sun did not shine, it was too wet to play’. A great game of water pistols ensues and immediately involves the audience in the playfulness. The children spend time ‘playing’ inside – which nicely sets up a period of boredom, enabling the crazy Cat in the Hat to make an entrance.
The Cat, a mysterious, aristocratic sort of creature played with great style by Nana Amoo-Gottfried, suggests games they can play and demonstrates his magical abilities whilst balancing a ridiculous pile of assorted items and standing on a ball. Meanwhile, the Fish, (Charley Magalit) urges the children to behave and the Cat to leave. The Fish is brilliant as she swims around in her bowl, ends up in a teapot and her facial expressions throughout the performance are fantastically funny. She doesnt stop for a moment, even when ones attention may be fixed on a different character.
The levels of havoc and mayhem crescendo with the introduction of Thing 1 (Celia Francis) and Thing 2 (Robert Penny) – tumbling, spinning, random balls of energy with blue hair. Their acrobatic antics come from the circus of daring-do – where living room walls are for climbing and somersaults are a way of shaking hands. The fun continues to explode with parts of the set becoming springboards for further shenanigans.
This roller-coaster of a story is held together by the very beautifully illustrated set designed by Isla Shaw – based on Dr Seuss’ own artworks but produced in 3D and alive with its own secrets. There is original music and songs written by Tasha Taylor Johnson, which provides a suitably unpredictable soundscape which is both mystical and comedic and includes songs subtly woven into the storyline.
The Cat in the Hat is a riotous romp, fizzing with energy and full of all that is bright and free and open to possibility. A turbulent world full of colour and contradiction, where Sally the scientist cooks the books, and her brother wears fairy wings and catches imaginary creatures in an over-sized net. It is anarchic and bonkers and absolutely as Dr Seuss would have imagined in his wildest dreams.
Run: 8th December to 12th January 2019 at Curve, then at Rose Theatre Kingston