“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees!”
The Lorax was a larger-than-life performance. Everything about it was amazing: the puppetry craftsmanship of the Lorax; the poetic language and humour of Dr Seuss; the dynamism of the mise-en-scène; the actors telling the stories, singing and dancing together: and the beautiful costumes and scenery.
The play begins with children on a stroll in the nearby forest. Curious about a statue-less plinth that has the word “unless” inscribed on one of its sides, they begin telling us the story of how it came about. That day, they discover the tower of the man, and out of the back curtain comes a huge tower, 7.5 meters high, at my guess. That is how the story of the Once-ler, the person who lives in the tower begins. The Once-ler came from a poor family of farmers, who, finding it hard to earn a living, wanted him to get rich. So the Once-ler went off on an adventure in search of a new fortune. After many days, he came across the Lorax, who lived in a heavenly valley with multi-colored birds, performed by dancing ladies, happy fish-puppets and exotic truffalo trees…
I really liked the way that the Lorax was actually a puppet. It was so well articulated by the three puppeteers that it was easy to imagine it was real. Moreover, the size of some of the props is something that I have never experienced in the theatre before. The most impressive were the enormous Once-ler business desk and chair, and his monster bike so big that it probably would not fit inside the shell of a double-decker bus. Another thing that I loved about this performance of “The Lorax” was that all the actors sang and danced, as well as changed roles effectively in a matter of minutes. I would like to know how they learnt all of those lines!
Amazingly, there were also lots of different styles of sound effects and music, such as rock n’ roll, folk ballad, Gospel, heavy metal, pop and techno, and much, much more. Sometimes, some of the music just made me want to get up and dance! The light reflected the mood of the play: when it was reflective about the devastation of the Lorax’s forest, the lights were grayish in colour; when there was a party, all of the lights would either be a rainbow of colours, or change colour very quickly. There were lots of lights in many different places, which helped to add effect, without making it too obvious that it was artificially made. All helped create a very special atmosphere.
I would give “The Lorax” five stars because of all these reasons, and because of its very strong “message against cutting age-old sacred trees” by ignorant and selfish people “crazy with greed”. The Once-ler factory of silly knitwear destroyed all the trees and polluted the Lorax’s and the animals’ valley, and this made me very sad and emotional. However, there might be a solution to the problem, and the solution lies in the word “unless”…
- Children Theatre
- Adapted by the stage by David Greig
- Director: Max Webster
- Puppetry: Finn Caldwell for Gyre & Gimble
- The Old Vic, London
- Until 16 January 2016
- Review by Caroline Perret and Lucien Asbury-Perret (age 11)