The Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch

08/07/2015 - 18/07/2015

Production Details

Your favourite cat, in that hat, takes to the stage! Come to The Court and meet the cat from the best-selling children’s books. There’s Thing One and Thing Two, and plenty of games and lots of tricks! Join us for lots and lots of fun.

Genre: Kids Show
At The Court Theatre
8 – 18 July 2015
Starting Times: Mo – Fri 11am and 1pm. Sat 11am and also 1pm Sat 11 July. 
Tickets: All $10. Caregivers Required. 
Booking Details: 963 0870 or visit www.courttheatre.org.nz

David Ladderman – Cat,
Lizzie Tollemache – Girl,
Joshua Johnson – Boy,
Tee Rauna – Thing 1,
Erin Wells – Thing 2,
Sophie Peterson – Fish.

Daniel Pengelly – Director,
Harold Moot – Set Design,
Sean Hawkins – Sound & Lighting Design,
Richard van den Berg – Properties,
Ashlyn Smith - Stage Manager,
Paul Johnson – Operator,
Sarah Douglas – Costume Manager,
Nigel Kerr – Workshop Manager,
Annie Pearce – Production Manager,
Erica Browne – Assistant Stage Manager

Theatre , Family , Children’s ,

Something lost in translation from page to stage

Review by Lindsay Clark 08th Jul 2015

Anticipation is double-edged when it comes to staged adaptations of well-loved books. In this case the challenge is heightened for inventive director Pengelly and his well experienced team by the nature of the Seuss text itself, not to mention the excited full house of little folk who tumble and skip from auditorium to seats bringing their own restless energy to the opening performance. 

The Seuss magic lies in its wacky images and repetitive monosyllables and rhyme. On stage, the image part of the equation is cleverly echoed in Harold Moot’s crazily wonky set, Richard van den Berg’s clever props, and the costumes managed by Sarah Douglas, which faithfully reproduce the shaggy Cat and his strange associates. Sean Hawkins’ sound and lighting designs heighten many an episode. 

The story is a simple one, with a clear but gently suggested message, ardently voiced by the Fish (nifty puppeteer Sophie Petersen): it is a big risk to let strangers in when your mother is away, even though they bring fun new tricks and may even clean up their mess in brilliantly novel ways. 

Sometimes there is narration, at other times characters speak as themselves, but what does seem to be missing is the moment to moment dynamic spirit that propels the page. Repeated sounds and rhythms so effective in the read-aloud word, miss out a little in the necessary translation to action.

However, the cast works with a will and no shortage of talent. David Ladderman has all the gleeful skill and acrobatic flair required for the fun-driven Cat, with ever more reckless ideas and consequences. The demanding tricks he initiates are partly enabled by Tee Rama and Erin Wells, a dashing pair who play Thing 1 and Thing 2, when not scooting about on Cat business. Lizzie Tollemache as Girl and Joshua Johnson as Boy stylishly complete the works. 

All good fun then and a classy production in many ways, though for me the text invites more participation in its patterned sound. At one stage, the audience is encouraged to complete the ‘Red Fish, Blue Fish’ line and the auditorium comes alive in a way that watching clever physical action has not achieved.

Perhaps vivid experience of the Seuss world is more easily left to the ear and the imagination.


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