Last weekend, we took the little ones and their cousin (6, 6, and 3) to see Seussical at the Young People’s Theatre in Toronto. The musical brings to life (at least) three Dr. Seuss favourites: Horton Hears a Who, Horton Hatches the Egg, and Oh! The Thinks You Can Think! The Cat in the Hat narrates.
For the most part, the mixing of story lines from various books worked. The spine of the story is Horton’s protection of the Whos, and his hatching of the egg for the feckless Mayzie works fairly seamlessly with that plot. A chorus of bird girls is marvelous, and their costumes were pure genius: forties glamour, with just a hint of feather. Gertrude McFuzz, who harbours a secret love for Horton the Elephant, wants to look more like the glam bird girls and laments her one, lonely tail feather. Her wish for more and more elaborate plumage is beautifully realized on stage with hidden layers of costume, but it ends with predictably disastrous results. The resolution of that love story plot ends on the satisfying note that just being yourself is always best. And of course, throughout is Horton’s wonderfully catchy refrain, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” (Horton’s costume was a little less than successful. He had no trunk, but an oven mitt to represent it, and ear muffs for elephant ears. The older kids grasped it, but my littlest, who is well versed with Dr. Seuss, kept asking where the elephant was.)
The production was a hit with the six-year-olds, but my three-year-old also kept asking when the movie was going to start. (Note to self, make sure to clarify that a play is a play no matter how many times you ask.) He loved, loved, loved the pesky Wickersham brothers, though, so the monkeys saved the play.
I am a big fan of Dr. Seuss, so this play was a treat for me, too. I do think that a familiarity with the stories is useful before seeing the play, especially because there are a number of plots to follow. If you are looking for a musical treat, this one’s a winner. It is at the mainstage of the Young People’s Theatre until December 30.