Colour, movement, pizazz, wit, humour, music and character. Seussical the Musical is definitely one of those musicals that just appeals to everyone’s inner child. With today’s technology, it is easy for us to pre-investigate shows we haven’t seen. However when it comes to shows that I haven’t watched before, I try to make a concerted effort not to so that the company can present it to me however they like and I go in with no expectations.
I can assure you that I was entertained for the entire duration. It was so well rehearsed and so tight in its production and direction, we never had any of those awkward moments that sometimes pop up in amateur theatre. It was a fantastic production.
Seussical is a brilliant intertwining of a few distinctive Dr Seuss stories: Horton Hears a Who!, Horton Hatches the Egg, and Gertrude McFuzz. The Cat in the Hat, another outstanding Seussical creation, presents as a kind of emcee/narrator and frequently joins in the frivolity on stage.
The story centers on the efforts of Horton the Elephant (played by Isaac Stott) to protect the Whos, a people so tiny that their entire city of Whoville is situated on an errant speck of dust. In his efforts to protect them, Horton deposits Who-ville onto a sprig of clover but it is stolen by a trio of mischievous monkeys called the Wickershams. Horton’s attention to this tiny community frustrates the lovely Gertrude McFuzz (played by Kelly Trenery) who is ashamed of her ‘One feather tail’ but yearns to be noticed by Horton. Gertrude goes to great lengths to improve her attraction even succumbing to pills to augment her plumage after the smarmy encouragement of the flashy, narcissistic bird Mayzie LaBird (played by Laura Power). A trio of Bird Girls #1, #2 and #3 (Sophia Bubner, Kiersen Casey & Sarah Hill), delight the audience appearing with Mayzie and McFuzz adding a twinge of sass just for fun!
JoJo (played by Thalia Osegueda) is regularly admonished to “Think less Thinks” due to all the trouble it creates – one begins to accept that JoJo’s imaginary friend and all-time instigator The Cat in the Hat (played by Tim Addicoat) can dance and cavort in and out of JoJo’s ‘Thinks’ with complete abandon. JoJo’s parents Mr. and Mrs. Mayor (Jay Haggett and Bec Muratore) are at wit’s end. They even contemplate sending poor JoJo to the military to serve under General Gengus Khan Schmidt (played by Daniel Cooper).
Addicoat does a sensational job as the Cat in the Hat. His energy is superb and constant for the entire show. He’s witty and bold without being over the top. Great expressions and of course amazing voice. A real credit to this production.
Osegueda puts in a fantastically mature performance as Jojo. Great stage presence, hitting all the notes and all the cues perfectly. A real future star for sure.
Scott’s portrayal of the loveable yet forlorn Horton was absolutely spot on. Playing a character that is quite monotone in emotion can be difficult, however, Scott was really engaging and you always felt connected with his character.
Haggett and Muratore made a magnificent pair as the Mayor and his wife. Whether by good luck or good management, the height difference between the two made the pairing quite hilarious from the start. Having said that, they did work well together and we were left in no doubt that they were a team.
Omar Moustafa (Vocal) and Shelley Dunlop (Orchestra) are joint musical directors for this production of Seussical. Clearly both well trained and did a sensational job of leading and supporting the singers. There were a couple of moments when I thought, this is perhaps a little too loud, but I’m sure this has been addressed after opening night.
Louise D’Ortenzio was the choreographer and to is to be congratulated for her very well thought out ideas that can to fruition. What she did was clever and effective. Nothing too difficult for newer members to master but still extremely successful.
When it came to lighting, there were no real issues to speak of. Lighting is obviously of great importance for mood and effect and can be expensive, however, there was a good use of colour and colourful effects without being over-the-top which could be easy to do in this type of musical.
Costumes were on-point. Bright, colourful, effective. As anyone who has been involved in amateur theatre, putting on a show is not a cheap undertaking and getting it right costs money. I was really impressed with the quality of this production, costumes included.
Co-directors that helped bring the whole show to life were Daniel Allaoui and Demi Mangione. It is obvious that they work well together and had a clear join vision on how they wanted the audience to experience the show. We were kept entertained at a good pace, nothing too fast and no awkward gaps or silences. Great work.4
This was my first Waterdale show and I’m so glad I went. A high standard was set for themselves with Seussical. They are certainly on the right path and I can see great things continuing from them in the future. Opening night saw a virtually a full house which does show that amateur theatre is perfectly healthy here in Melbourne. I would encourage anyone and everyone of all ages to come along and enjoy Seussical the Musical.