My son loves the books of Dr Seuss and I have to admit, his are amongst my favourite stories for children. I was fascinated to discover recently the history of The Cat in The Hat - that it was a result of a challenge set to the author to break the traditional ‘Dick and Jane’ mould of reading book that was rife in the '50s, and an attempt to inject some excitement into the world of stories for pre-schoolers. 60 years on, it still delivers and the adaptation of the book into this show is a treat for all fans of The Cat.
A stunning piece of physical theatre, the show entertains by a mix of great choreography, acrobatics and use of music. The story is simple - two children, home alone, are visited by The Cat and his mischievous companions Thing 1 and Thing 2, who proceed to cause happy chaos in the house... until the prospect of mum returning to a house in disarray arises.
All the actors had brilliant movement skills; special mention must go to Charley Magalit, who portrayed The Fish, spending most of her time in a giant rolling goldfish bowl, whilst also dancing and singing and balancing - rather outstanding! The Cat was played by Nana Amoo-Gottfried, who embodied all the traits of the character - his elegance, charm, wit and naughtiness. Nana also brought his own personality to the role in many of the songs. He also did a brilliant job of spending at least 10 minutes balancing on a big juggling ball, and adding more and more items to his hands, feet and head to hold (by the end of the scene he is balancing milk, a cup, and a cake on his head, holding up two books, and more...we were holding our breath!)
The good rapport between the cast was evident - they looked like they were enjoying the time together and bounced off each other - noteworthy is the dance off between The Cat and The Fish.
The set design was colourful and paid a lot of attention to detail to really catch the eye. The use of props to interact with the audience, such as water guns and bubbles was effective, as was getting the children (and adults) up to dance.
The only improvement I would possibly suggest is not directly related to the show itself - there is an interval halfway through the show of 20 minutes and I felt this was possibly unnecessary for a show that was quite short anyway- for me, it was a little disruptive as the break came at a very exciting point in the show. However this is more of a technical point, and overall I would certainly recommend this show.
This is a unique production in that it is so eccentric and non-stop - a real visual treat that feels like a cross between theatre and circus. Thank you Oxford Playhouse for a thoroughly entertaining evening!