Panorama’s Seussical The Musical has taken over the Frankston Arts Centre, with a 2 week run from April 21st – April 30th. Based on the books of Dr Seuss, the audience meets many of his famous characters in this family friendly show.
Don’t mistake the show for simple kids’ entertainment. The show requires a talented cast and dedicated production team. Panorama have done a wonderful job at capturing the heart and purpose of the musical.
Director Tara Kabalan should be proud of the vision she has created along with her production team, Malcolm Huddle (Musical Director), Michael Mitchell (Choreographer) and Amy Brown (Assistant Choreographer). The cast were well rehearsed with characters showing clear motivation and attention to detail.
Huddle is accompanied by an incredible band that can’t be faulted. The company was vigilant with his cut offs, making the delivery of the score clean and precise.
Choreography was punchy and energetic. Mitchell’s routines were executed well by the cast, with kudos to the junior ensemble for keeping up! Most impressive was their interpretation of “Having A Hunch” applying fosse and tap. Brilliant!
The Cat in the Hat was played with ease by Panorama veteran, Daragh Wills. Containing the energy of a cast of 100 members, Wills bounded on stage full of life and gusto, lighting up every scene. With his bold Broadway twang, Wills’ voice suited the caricature role. As much as he blends well with these cartoon characters, I would like to see Wills find roles that challenge him further!
Lenny Thomas as Jojo handled the role professionally. It was great that Panorama could cast an appropriately aged performer for the role. Thomas is a tripled threat with strong vocals, brilliant expressions, and entertaining footwork.
Peter Nicklen as Horton was very likeable and stole the audience’s hearts. Nicklen provided a lovely understated portrayal of the role that contrasted effectively with the chaos of characters that surrounded him.
Sienna Iscara delivered a solid performance as Gertrude McFuzz. Her voice was impressive, adding her own flavour to her vocal track.
Gabi Cronin provided a suave and resilient Mayzie La Bird, which was a refreshing representation unlike the usual showgirl caricature.
Courtney Smith did not disappoint with her powerful vocal performance in “Biggest Blame Fool” as the Sour Kangaroo. Accompanied by her Baby Roo, Ruby Molnar (with a surprisingly impressive sound from a young performer!), the pair contributed this standout song of the production.
The Bird Girls had impressive pipes and were always a highlight on stage. Their rival trio, the Wickersham brothers, were another crowd favourite of the show.
Special mention to Nathan Panzadopoulos making the most of the cameo role General Gengus Khan Schmitz. Panzadopoulos nailed the physicality of the role, grasping the audience attention from his first entry. His intonation provided entertaining dynamics, making every word engaging.
The set design was effective in creating depth in what can usually be lost on such a large stage. Multimedia projections were smooth and worked creatively, mapped over three large arches which framed the actors wonderfully.
Lighting by David Boddison coordinated with the multimedia design and did well to not distract from the already manic story unfolding on stage. The set arches may have restricted the potential of the moving lights having more scope and impact.
With a huge company of nearly 60 performers, Anne Pollard has done an incredible job of creating and sourcing costume for this production! With a smaller cast there would have been more time and budget to attend to details in some of the ensemble costumes. Special mention to the variety and humour of The Cat In The Hat quick changes.
Take the family to see this show! It’s fun, fast paced, with songs and characters everyone can identify with and enjoy. Tickets are available from $30 and can by purchased through artscentre.frankston.vic.gov.au