WORTH A LOOK?: ****1/2
WHERE: Old Vic
WHEN: 17/12 runs to 16/1
We’ve been quite critical of Matthew Warchus’ tenure as Old Vic artistic director but this is his debut season’s first real success and it draws on much of which made his Matilda such a must-see.
The Lorax was a children’s book written by Dr Seuss almost 50 years ago but its conservation theme couldn’t be more pertinent. The Lorax is also a moustached beaver-like animal who speaks for the trees and seeks to defend them and their natural inhabitants from the capitalist insurgence, and enthusiasm for ‘biggering’, of the Once-ler.
One certainly couldn’t criticise Warchus for ducking current social issues with the themes of his first Old Vic season: Future Conditional looked at the state of education and The Hairy Ape pondered the fate of the working class.
About halfway through the second act here we were surrounded by sobbing children which is certainly not what one has come to expect from the Christmas shows at this venue.
However, this adaptation by David Greig is a witty update featuring references to selfies, social media and a live Channel Four news investigation of the Once-ler’s polluting factory. The staging is a riot of colour and the puppetry (led superbly by Simon Lipkin) is a joy. Simon Paisley Day’s roguish Once-ler is also a fascinating creation.
The music and lyrics (by Noah & The Whale’s Charlie Fink) cover a broad palette of styles and, with a little bit of tweaking, could see The Lorax repeat Matilda’s Broadway success.
- Picture via Facebook courtesy Old Vic. Tickets here.
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