National Operatic & Dramatic Association London Region
Thank you for the warm welcome you gave us on our arrival to see this delightful family show. I confess that, for some reason, the works of Dr Seuss passed me by both when I was a child and when my own children were young. However, I did know a little about this one largely due to my grandchildren who are ‘Grinch’ fans and it was a delight to see how you brought the well-known characters to life with costume and make up.
Ruth Corner’s expert direction alongside Adrian Sutcliffe as MD, and director of the small live band, really brought out the best in the entire cast. A team of six choreographers had obviously worked everyone very hard and the results delighted the very appreciative audience.
No credit for the excellent set which was constructed Tina Barclay, Steve Corner, Alan Caesar-Gordon, Graham Caesar-Gordon and Steve Cubbage. I loved the depiction of the clover fields and the Truffula Trees as well as the very colourful rainbow striped side stage entrances/exits.
Les Brewer’s lighting fully complemented the set and Ollie Bentley and Beri Valentine on Sound and Mics worked hard. However, a quick note regarding mics – they were not always switched off quickly enough when the cast were off stage; perhaps the cast should be reminded their mics might be on for a few minutes after they have come off stage? Shame that Mayzie’s mic was a bit dodgy once or twice, I suspect a possible failing battery?
Alan Caesar-Gordon’s expert stage management, as usual, enabled the whole show to run smoothly.
Costumes, Liz Peskin and Ruth Corner, who was also active on the make up front, were as true to the cartoon book illustrations as it is possible to get. Notably, of course, the Cat in the Hat himself and the Grinch but all outfits were extremely good. I loved The Bird Girls’ eye makeup which matched their outfits too.
A well-produced, and colourful, programme from Jo Sutton – remember to enter it into the NODA London Programme Awards won’t you? A reminder that the judging year for programmes ends on 31 December and as this one is Society Nominated you will have to download a form from the NODA London website.
Many of the very good ensemble had more than one part to play and you all managed some very quick costume changes. All of you performed consistently well in all your roles too – but one or two of you need to take care not to execute an extra kick or twirl at times in dance routines as it gives the impression that you do not know the moves as well as the majority.
There are so very many parts, large and small, in Seussical that I don’t think I can mention every single one of you by name, suffice it to say that there wasn’t a weak link.
Simon Patterson gave a very accomplished performance as the very iconic Cat in the Hat, singing and moving well.
The part of Horton the Elephant was well played by Louis Stansfield as a very caring character and your Alone in the Universe was particularly delightfully performed.
As the Boy, Jojo, Matilda Patterson was excellent all the time whether sitting quietly at the back of the stage, reacting well to others, or singing. I was particularly impressed by your quick thinking when it came to the retrieval and return of another’s hat at one point.
Mr and Mrs Mayor, Steve Element and Tamsin Grayling, developed a lovely shuffling walk and exhibited good stage presence.
Nic Barton’s facial expressions as The Grinch were well thought out and, as usual Nic, you gave us an excellent performance.
I loved Jess McLauchlan’s song bemoaning her lack of tail and Gertrude’s efforts to grow it longer worked well.
Steve Cubbage as General Genghis Khan Schmitz was another excellent characterisation as was Lucy Shirley’s feckless Mayzie La Bird.
Imogen Bagley, Hannah Shirley and Charlotte Smith as the three Bird Girls sang and moved well as, indeed, did all the cast including the very mischievous Wickersham Brothers (Aston Adkins, Imani Kotecha and Charlotte Walker) and the two kangaroos (Kate Patterson and Robyn Adkins).
Of course, as everyone of you will know, it was little Rilke Stansfield who stole the show at the end as the Elephant Bird. I predict future appearances for him in St Peter Players’ productions!
This was a truly delightful show and I am keenly looking forward to the announcement of your 2020 Programme to see what delights you have in store for 2020.
NODA London Regional Representative Districts 11 and 11A