The Turbine Theatre, London – until 11 January 2020
Reviewed by Donna Easton
I was delighted to see The Turbine transformed into the unmistakable world of Dr Zuess. The colour palette of the set is one that is instantly recognisable and we are in no doubt where we are so I was feeling excited to see the much loved Cat in the Hat brought to life and so was my little daughter.
I should say at the outset that my daughter (aged 4) loved the show. She gave it 5 stars but I on the other hand didn’t quite feel it. The story was clear, there were indeed some clever moments, great use of props, the odd little modernisation and some clever ad-libs but I felt it was lacking energy and somehow muted. The Cat in the Hat has to be one of the biggest characters in literary history but I felt Jonathan Ray’s performance seemed to be played down rather than heightened. I think this could have been down to the minimal script as he was clearly adept with the (seemingly off the cuff) one liners to the audience and the physical characterisation.
Grace Kelly Miller’s Sally and Fish hit the right tone for me but I’m afraid the rest of the cast especially Thing 1 and Thing 2’s performances were a little too slapstick and relied on tongues poking out and raspberry blowing for the humour. It seemed a little obvious ‘naughty = blowing raspberries’ but again, I wonder if this was down to the minimal vocabulary?
Now, ask my daughter and you would get a very different review, 5 stars! She loved it. She thought the Cat in the Hat was hilarious, loved Thing 1 and Thing 2, thought the fish was great and adored the bit when loads of beach balls flew into the audience.
I get that I am not their target demographic but as a mum, I was filled with joy watching my daughter’s happy little face enthralled with the action. As a Sunday afternoon family trip, it was fun and hey, it’s the review of a 4 year old that matters here anyway, right?