Spirit of Seuss

Seussi­calJr was a colour­ful and quirky blast of fun for all ages.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ARTS - By NATALIE HENG en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my

Swas a fun, daz­zling slice of Dr Seussi­cal’s most fa­mous char­ac­ters, brought to life by a cast of up and com­ing young tal­ents.

The pro­duc­tion, which fin­ished its run at the PJ Live Arts The­atre in Pe­tal­ing Jaya in Se­lan­gor last weekend, may have been the work of stu­dents – grad­u­ates of the­atre per­son­al­ity Tiara Jac­quelina’s En­finiti Academy – but the per­for­mance de­liv­ered by some of the show’s key char­ac­ters had the en­ergy, gusto and charisma be­fit­ting of pro­fes­sion­als.

As an ac­claimed Broad­way mu­si­cal fea­tur­ing all your favourite char­ac­ters from cel­e­brated chil­drens au­thor Dr Seuss (aka Theodor Seuss Geisel), Seussi­cal Jr lived up to its billing.

On stage, Hani Karmila Mohsin Ef­fendi did a won­der­ful job as the Cat in the Hat. Al­ways in tune. She sang her way beau­ti­fully though the nar­ra­tion of the story, while an in­spir­ing Jojo played with in­fec­tious and ir­re­press­ible smiles by one Badr­ish Is­din Ba­hadir was a real charmer.

In the story, Jojo is a young Who, a race of mi­cro­scopic fuzzy-blue haired peo­ple who live on Whoville, the tini­est planet in the universe.

His fa­ther is the town Mayor, how­ever him and his wife (played by brother-sis­ter duo Ste­fan and Sophia Oth­man-Anser­son) are un­happy with their son, and tell him to stop think­ing too many “thinks”.

Jojo feels iso­lated, that is un­til he finds a friend in Hor­ton the Ele­phant, a big lum­ber­ing softie from the Jun­gle of Nool, who upon dis­cov­er­ing the tiny planet, (which he ini­tially mis­takes for a tiny speck of dust on a clover leaf), vows to pro­tect it.

Played by Caleb Kis­han Savari, Hor­ton made a like­able lead for the show, with a voice that was deep and vo­lu­mi­nous, yet ex­pres­sive enough to por­tray his gen­tle na­ture.

The other an­i­mals, which in­cluded an en­sem­ble of Kan­ga­roos (one blues-belt­ing Cait­lyn Vidya Savari, ac­com­pa­nied by the adorable baby Kan­ga­roo, Maelin Am­biana Kilpatrick), cheeky Mon­keys, and flam­boy­ant birds, cast ridicule on Hor­ton for talk­ing to a clover leaf. How­ever, he stood res­o­lute in his mis­sion.

Other stand­outs from the cast were the glam­orous but ir­re­spon­si­ble bird Mayzie, played bril­liantly by Amelia Thripura Hen­der­son.

Mayzie the bird was one of my favourite char­ac­ters. Mean­while, Gertrude McFuzz (Badrika Baluch Ba­hadur) did an amaz­ing job play­ing this de­ter­mined lit­tle bird with the plainest tail feather that ever was. Her high­pitched squeaks and com­i­cal self con­scious­ness made her a lov­able un­der­dog.

As much as we were thrilled, there were some hic­cups with the pro­duc­tion. A num­ber of solo lines from the cho­rus were in­audi­ble, pre­sum­ably due to mic prob­lems, whilst at times it was hard to make out the words when the full en­sem­ble was singing.

And from the top gallery, the stage looked slightly crowded dur­ing the big scenes. But there were plenty of great mo­ments – in par­tic­u­lar the bath tub scene where a shoal of glow-in the-dark fish swam in for­ma­tion around the stage whilst Jojo imag­ined he was un­der the sea. That was pos­i­tively mag­i­cal. The best bits were the solo per­for­mances, scenes to­wards the sec­ond half of the show by Ger­tude McFuzz and Mayzie, which re­ally stood out. The duets with Jojo and Cat in the Hat and Jojo and Hor­ton also man­aged to hit some real heart strings. All in all, this was a good 75 min­utes of great and in­spir­ing fun.

Gertrude McFuzz (Badrika Baluch Ba­hadur) and Mayzie (Amelia Thripura Hen­der­son) are as dif­fer­ent as two birds can be in Seussi­calJr.

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