Opera House, Wellington

06/07/2020 - 06/07/2020

Production Details


The time has come to have some fun and our children need it most!  

Few children’s books have stood the test of time quite like Dr Seuss’s 200 word masterpiece ‘The Cat in the Hat’.

Adapted for the stage, the play tells the story consistent with the book of a brother and sister, bored at home on a rainy day…(without their Mother!!??) when they are visited by none other than ‘The Cat’ in his red and white striped Hat….(which they let in the door!!??). Their outspoken and outraged pet Fish (yip the fish talks…and is the babysitter!!) is astounded and concerned, but this cat will not be deterred.

He will teach us all to make our own fun with nothing but a little imagination. “It’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how.” Along with his friends, Thing One and Thing Two (Hey we all have those types of friend’s) they turn the house upside down leaving mess everywhere but have no fear because The Cat brings in his red ‘Picker-Up Machine’ and all is back to normal before Mum walks back in the door.

The Cat in the Hat performed a SOLD OUT tour of New Zealand in 2018 and has since 2019 been touring Australia. The production features a full scale set of the house and over 70 props that the cast use to bring to life every detail of the well-known book.

TICKETS $20 – 35

4 HAMILTON Clarence Street Theatre 10.30am, 1pm, 3.30pm Ticketek

5 NAPIER Municipal Theatre 10.30am, 1pm Ticketek
6 WELLINGTON Opera House 10.30am, 1pm, 3.30pm Ticketmaster
8 TIMARU Girls High School 10.30am, 1pm catinthehatlive.com
9 DUNEDIN Regent Theatre 10.30am, 1pm Ticket Rocket
10 INVERCARGILL Civic Theatre 10.30am, 1pm Ticket Rocket
11 CHRISTCHURCH Isaac Theatre Royal 10.30am, 1pm, 3.30pm Ticketek
12 NELSON Theatre Royal 10.30am, 1pm, 3.30pm Ticket Rocket
14 PALMERSTON NORTH Regent on Broadway 10.30am, 1pm Ticketek
15 WHANGANUI Royal Wanganui Opera House 10.30am whanganuivenues.co.nz
16 NEW PLYMOUTH TSB Theatre 10.30am, 1pm Ticketek
17 TAURANGA Baycourt Theatre 11am, 2pm, 6pm Ticketek
18 AUCKLAND Bruce Mason Centre 10.30am, 1pm, 3.30pm Ticketmaster
19 WHANGAREI Forum North 10.30am, 1pm, 3.30pm Ticketek

Showcase Entertainment Group, the New Zealand-based concert promoter and theatrical producer, presents its international production of Dr Seuss’s THE CAT IN THE HAT in 14 locations these July school holidays — believed to be the first post-Covid 19 theatrical tour anywhere in the world! 

“2020 has been brutal for the entertainment industry and the world alike. Lockdown was hard enough psychologically for adults with so much uncertainty but spare a thought for our children who went through it as well. It’s time to celebrate New Zealand’s unique situation of being back open for business and give our kids some fun,” says executive producer Layton Lillas.

The fun is with a magical stage show adapted from the classic Dr Seuss book, The Cat in the Hat.

The production that last toured New Zealand in 2018 has been on tour in Australia for much of 2019 and was due to be on 40-show tour in April 2020 when Covid-19 struck. Tours to China and The Philippines scheduled for late 2020 were also put on hold.

At Level 3, The Producers shipped the set and costumes back to New Zealand, assembled a complete New Zealand cast and crew, and routed a theatre tour to take the show the length and breadth of the country, with fingers crossed that the June 8 government announcement would mean a return to live touring. From Monday at midnight this is now the case.

“The time has come to put our people back to work, get some product back into the theatres and most importantly spread some joy.” says Mr Lillas.

The Cat:  Nick Wilkinson
Sally:  Monique Clementson
Boy:  Chris Symon
Fish:  Joshi Reinhold
Thing 1:  Jenny Stewart
Thing 2:  Chelsea Kelly

Stage Manager:  Khayt Hanara
Props Manager:  Sarah Lillas
Assistant Stage Manager:  Annah Jacobs
Set Technician:  Dion Rutherford
Set Technician 2:  Tim Brebner
Sound Technician:  Tom Tyer-Drake

Producers: Showcase Entertainment Group (Layton Lillas and Brad Thomson)

The National Theatre of Great Britain's production of THE CAT IN THE HAT was originally created by:
Director:  Katie Mitchell
Designer:  Vicki Mortimer
Lighting Designer:  Jon Clark
Music:  Paul Clark
Sound Designer:  Gareth Fry
Movement Director:  Joseph Alford
Producer:  Pádraig Cusack

Theatre , Family , Children’s ,

All good well-paced, rhythmical fun

Review by John Smythe 07th Jul 2020

As I sit down to write a review of this show
My thoughts rhyme in couplets – I know. I won’t. No.
Dr. Seuss is the master, he makes it look easy;
His books romp along all bouncy and breezy …

Not that the whole text is spoken out loud in the play – a lot is revealed through action and well-timed sound effects, with just enough Seuss rhymes to honour the source. While the books ‘first person’ narrator is the brother, the voice-over narrator, sparsely used, is female.

Despite the true-to-the-picture-book set, the soundtrack makes the rainy day feel very real. Initially Sally (Monique Clementson) and her Brother (Chris Symon) are on the inside looking out then we flip to the inside to witness their boredom setting in as they “sit, sit, sit” – also witnessed by their pet Fish (a hand puppet worked by Joshi Reinhold) who will turn out to be more like their moral watchdog.

The window in the back wall is an active screen upon which raindrops splat – and ‘through’ which we glimpse the signature red and white stripes of the eponymous hat. The Cat (Nick Wilkinson) understands the siblings, left at home by their mother, need to pla,y and is happy to show and teach them all sorts of tricks.

It’s all good well-paced, rhythmical fun with objects a-plenty to turn into playthings. But when he brings in a red box and releases two bundles of energy called Thing 1 (Jenny Stewart) and Thing 2 (Chelsea Kelly), the ‘fun’ escalates to a level of anarchic chaos. Only when the things are returned to the box – a poignant moment blended with relief – are the children, Fish and Cat able to restore order, just in time.
The cracks in the window, caused by the Cat
Are polished away, just like that!

The Cat’s multi-armed pedal car is splendidly replicated, as per the Seuss illustration, but its limbs and digits are not articulated to actually pick things up – which may or may not disappoint some children.

The book is a favourite with every generation, of course, and there has been a film too, which has had mixed reception given the scatological and ‘adult’ humour which some claim pitches it beyond the book’s reading age. Fortunately, this production sticks to the book.

According to an article for world.edu by R Wolf Baldassarro, Theodor Seuss Geisel was a political cartoonist for a New York City newspaper called PM, where he satirised the prevailing fear of communism and condemned fascism, including discrimination against Jews and Blacks and Jews. He wrote and drew The Cat in the Hat (his first children’s book) in response to a 1954 magazine report that suggested children’s literacy was declining because books like Dick and Jane  were boring. (Likewise New Zealand’s Janet and John.)

Baldassarro notes that some teachers and critics disapproved of the ‘scare factor’ in the Seuss books, and their failure to ‘soothe’, and explains: “Geisel made a point not to begin writing his stories with a particular moral in mind, stating that, ‘kids can see a moral coming a mile off.’ He was not, however, against writing about issues. He said that ‘there’s an inherent moral in any story’ and remarked that he was ‘subversive as hell’.”

This Showcase Entertainment Group production restages The National Theatre of Great Britain’s production which was originally created by director, Katie Mitchell, designer, Vicki Mortimer and others. The Australian production had toured New Zealand in 2018, then Australia for much of 2019 and was due to tour more in April 2020 when Covid-19 struck. Tours to China and The Philippines scheduled for late 2020 were also put on hold.

But New Zealand was shaping up as the land of opportunity. At Level 3, the producers shipped the set and costumes back to New Zealand, assembled a complete New Zealand cast and crew in anticipation of Levels 2 and 1, and now …
The Cat in the Hat is touring the land
Hitting each town for a one-day-stand.
Wellington’s Opera House was full for three shows.
So book now if its coming, before every seat goes.

See the itinerary here


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