The only thing standing between him and this concentrated deforestation effort is the titular Lorax – determined, orange, and moustachioed – who attempts to defend the forest and its inhabitants against human greed.
The show returns after a successful run in 2015, even more pertinent than ever. This time around, the fable feels less like a cautionary tale and more like ominous foreshadowing. This is thanks to the show’s creative direction from scriptwriter David Greig and director Max Webster, and thanks, in part, to the impending global warming crisis that threatens the majority of humankind.
We watch, transfixed, as the set transforms into a paradise populated by colourful puppets, sparkling sets, and Truffula trees that float from the ceiling. We watch, heartbroken, as the set is transformed into a grim wasteland at the hands of the Once-ler and his family on their mission to get rich. As the show progresses, their green costumes become less invocative of grass and instead assume the sickly green hue of cash.
The Once-ler, played by Simon Paisley Day, offers a complex and nuanced portrait of a businessman who accidentally invents capitalism and kickstarts armageddon. He’s sickeningly relatable, endearingly hateable. Michael Ajao is another stand out as Small Ed, the enthusiastic personal assistant of our dreams.
The Lorax is the star of the show. He is manned by a trio of puppeteers (Laura Caldow, Ben Thompson, and David Ricardo-Pearce), but he’s brought to life with some extra help from the impeccable timings of the guys in the sound booth (Tom Gibbons and David Gregory). It’s impossible not to relate to his indignant, trembling moustache, and it’s easy to forget the presence of the puppeteers.
Charlie Fink’s playful score perpetuates themes of impending environmental doom, reaching a fantastical climax with a K-Pop inspired track set to a fashion show that displays the versatility of the apocalypse-inducing Thneeds 2.0. The boisterous rhyme scheme carries flawlessly from script to song.
The Lorax at the Old Vic seamlessly translates Dr. Seuss’s book to the stage without sacrificing any of the fantastical elements: rhyme schemes, a menagerie of fantastical creatures, and a colourful cornucopia are flawlessly executed. The story of The Lorax imparts the dangers of consumerism, especially in the time of smartphones and fossil fuels, in a senselessly spectacular show the whole family will enjoy.
Recommended for children age 6+
|What||Review: The Lorax, The Old Vic|
|Where||The Old Vic, The Cut, London, SE1 8NB | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
15 Oct 17 – 05 Nov 17, Times vary between events. Check online
|Website||Click here to book via The Old Vic|