Review: Seussical the Musical

Bunjil Place, Narre Warren
9 to 18 June

Seussical the Musical is based on the works of Dr Seuss and brings to life some of his best-loved characters in an enchanting story about friendship, courage and believing in yourself. 

The audience was immediately transported to a world of fantasy as a frame descended on the stage, as if someone is opening the first page of a pop-up book. I felt drawn in by the colours of the sets and costumes as the Cat in the Hat is followed on stage by the fantastical characters that are familiar to those of us who grew up with Dr Seuss.

Photos by Ben Fon

The Cat in the Hat (Aidan Niarros) acts as a host more than a narrator. Aidan’s bold stage presence is mischievous and charming.

Horton the Elephant (Mathew Charles Arter) is a kind and optimistic elephant who never loses faith in his dreams, no matter how difficult things become. Mathew brings a warmth to the role and a singing voice I could listen to for days.

Jojo (Lucas Van Geyzel) is the brave and determined protagonist of Seussical the Musical. His unbounded imagination gets into trouble for thinking too many “thinks” as he embarks on a fantastical journey that takes him far from home where he learns invaluable lessons about friendship, love and self-confidence. Eleven year old Lucas has an impressive stage presence and a bright performing future ahead of him.

Mayzie LaBird (Shanae Thomas) is a lazy and self-centered bird who spends her days lounging around and singing about how wonderful life can be if you don’t have to work for it. Shanae brings a vulnerability to the role, revealing the character’s kind hearted nature.

The Sour Kangaroo (Katelyn Anitema) is an outspoken, no-nonsense mother kangaroo. She’s stylish, determined, but unapologetically tough. Her journey to the top wasn’t easy, but now she commands respect and power.

Director Sean Van Geyzel worked hard to make full use of the large stage at Bunjil Place, using a variety of set pieces and a moving, animated backdrop brought to life by Mike Fletchers fun cartoon-like illustrated projections.

The seventeen musicians expertly led by Musical Director Malcom Huddle sounded just like an old-school Broadway orchestra.

Choreographer Michael Mitchell did an impressive job with some heavy dance numbers, creating opportunities for everyone on stage to have moments to shine.

For me, the stand out performance was Emilie Toby as Gertrude McFuzz, never missing a beat with her comedic timing, some incredibly funny facial expressions and an absolutely stunning voice.

Windmill Theatre Company’s production of Seussical the Musical in Narre Warren serves as a reminder that you don’t need to travel to the city to have top quality musical theatre experience.

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Andrew G is a theatre promoter (@andrewgshowtime), a theatre producer (Green Day's American Idiot, The Wizard of Oz, Dogfight) and Editor of (formerly Melbourne Theatre Info).
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