‘A fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza’

2011-07-14 00:00

I’VE been a Dr Seuss fan since my earliest childhood, so watching the cast of this year’s Rainbow Young Performers’ Project bring beloved characters like The Cat in The Hat and Horton the elephant to life in the musical, Seussical, was a delight.

Directed by Durban’s award-winning director, Steven Stead, of KickstArt Theatre Company, the 26 young performers from high schools in KwaZulu-Natal use song and dance to tell the story of Horton (Blessing Xaba, who played Fatty in Spud, the movie, and was a diva of note in last year’s Hairspray), who discovers the teeny tiny people of Whoville on a speck of dust.

He vows to protect them, despite being ridiculed by his friends and neighbours. Having placed the little speck on a clover, disaster strikes and the clover is snatched away by a bird, and then dropped into a field full of the pink flowers.

His hunt for his little friends is disturbed when the ‘amazing’ Mayzie (played with plenty of attitude by Amanda Kunene) convinces him to sit on her egg, while she takes a break. This mama bird’s afternoon off turns into months, and along the way Horton finds himself captured by hunters and shipped off to a circus in America.

His only friends are JoJo, the little Who with the big imagination (played by remarkable young performer, Joshua ­Arnold), and Gertrude McFuzz (Nandisa Ngubelanga), who helps reunite Horton with his little friends.

The story is narrated by The Cat in the Hat (Candace van Pletzen), and while it would be easy to single out individuals for praise, I believe every single member of the cast deserves a special round of applause for their performance. Also deserving of plaudits is set designer, Greg King, whose colourful set and puppets help bring the quirky world of Dr Seuss to vivid life.

Seussical is billed as “a fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza” and having seen it, I can confirm it’s true. Don’t miss it.

• Seussical is at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre until Sunday. All shows are at 2.30 pm, with evening shows at 7 pm on Friday and Sunday. Tickets are R85 (R70 concessions) at Computicket.

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