Presented by Adelaide Youth Theatre
Reviewed 24 January 2020
Like musicals such as Grease and Hairspray, Seussical is performed often, but unlike the first two, there always manages to be something new and fresh about this delightful Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens family musical.
Based on the wonderful Dr Seuss books, in particular, Horton Hears a Who and Horton Hatches An Egg (with cameos by some other Seuss favourites), the musical is colouful, zippy, joyous and full of life. Adelaide Youth Theatre’s production has all these elements and just bursts onto the Arts Theatre stage.
This production delights from go to whoa. Sharing the roles of Director and Musical Director, Serena Martino-Williams and Jesse Budet, along with Choreographer Nina Richi have presented a wonderful production that I’m sure the Dr would approve of and the Grinch would want to steal for himself.
Oscar Bridges, whilst being a tad older than the usual JoJo’s cast, is truly believable as a typical boy whose adventures form a few of the plot lines and sings sensitively but with a maturity that is rare for someone his age. Deon Martino-Williams plays the elephant Horton, whose story is the other major plot line, marvellously. His voice and mannerisms are charming and perfectly honed to this very endearing role – his duet with Bridges in Alone In The Universe shows off both their voices and use of emotion beautifully. Another performer with great clarity and emotion in his voice, along with a perfect feel of sensitivity throughout, is Nick Mitchell as The Mayor. Emily Hartwell supports him well as Mrs Mayor.
Gemma Dandie as Gertrude has a great musical theatre voice and a good grasp of physical comedy; Londyn Foreman sings up a storm as Mayzie, as does Erica Obur as Sour Kangaroo; Liam Tomlin is nicely bombastic without ever being bullying as General Schmitz; Holly Abbott, Shae Olsson-Jones and Hamish Skene as the Wickershams and Alessia Charman, Charlotte Lawrence and Paige Tran as the Bird Girls all add glitz and fun to the production. The rest of the cast and ensemble are just as worthy to be up on the stage in this production – there is not a weak link amongst them.
But, the undisputed star of this version is 16 year old Nathan Stafford as the famous (or perhaps infamous) Cat In The Hat. Stafford blows the audience, young and old, away with his sensationally stunning performance. The energy and talent just exude from this young man, with every non-stop, minute gesture, accent, dance move and action a gem! His lounge lizard piano player and Latin American Lifeguard, in particular, were comedy gold and showed skills way beyond his young years.
Adelaide Youth Theatre have definitely served up a dish that puts green eggs and ham to shame.
Reviewed by Brian Godfrey