We’re taught a serious green message from an orange, moustachioed puppet
Photos Manuel Harlan
It’s only been eight months since Kevin Spacey departed his 11-year role as artistic director at The Old Vic
, and already the tone has shifted. Just in time for Christmas, The Lorax
rolled into town. Based on Dr Seuss’s 1971 children’s book, this new production by Max Webster has been turned into a joyful musical, with a sombre environmental message.
Narrated exclusively in rhyming couplets, this is a clever body of work that appeals to adults as much as children. Yet it’s the masterful puppetry of the Lorax himself that’s the real star of the show. Brought to life by three actors, it’s their skill that renders them almost invisible, as the show’s protagonist takes centre stage, admonishing The Once-ler, a businessman who’s profiting from cutting down trees.
Adapted for the stage by David Greig, the man behind West End hit Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this production mixes a lively, yet sparse set with energetic performances and laugh-out-loud set pieces. The result is a family-friendly show with a strong moral narrative (the finale leaves a lump in my throat), yet it’s one that manages to avoid being preachy.
As we leave the theatre, we’re handed a packet of seeds to plant. For a show that’s so easy to watch, it certainly makes a lasting impression.
Until 16 January
Hospitality The Old Vic’s
new café-bar Penny can be booked for semi-private drinks and canapé receptions. The theatre is also partnered with a number of restaurants which can cater for pre-theatre drinks and dinners