Fancy a show with a difference? Then try Max Webster's funny and thought provoking production of the The Lorax (Old Vic), adapted by David Greig from Dr Seuss's classic 1971 fable of environmental destruction.
The Lorax of the title is a cantankerous, moustachioed critter who is on a mission to save the world from a greedy, tree-felling Thneed-knitting businessman known only as the once-ler.
Although a thin narrative has been padded out to a two-hour show, David Greig has done a commendable job of adding seamlessly to Dr Seuss's indestructible original verse – the story is told in witty rhyming couplets – and manages to flesh out the figure of the Once-ler (Simon Paisley Day), whose rapacious chopping down of truffula trees to make his garment the Thneed, causes the defiant Lorax such anguish. There is also an interesting back-story of the Once-ler's impoverished family who, when success strikes, becomes increasingly avaricious, and his belching pollutant of a factory.
Director Max Webster skilfully blends theatrical invention, puppetry and zany humour in this timely and vibrant show. In particular, the creation of the Lorax is a true delight. He's a two-and-a-half-foot high puppet (manipulated by three dextrous puppeteers) with a winning expression that veers between the lugubrious and irascible. His eyebrows look like the thorns of a particularly prickly cactus and his copious yellow moustache seems to have a life of its own.
The production has an ensemble of 18, original music and a host of colourful props and costumes.
The Old Vic's first venture into the family show market then is a weird and wacky play with a message that will speak to audiences of all ages.
Runs at The Old Vic until January 16 2016.
Box office: 0844 871 7628Last modified: April 7, 2021