Who or what is the Lorax?
He/it is an invention of writer Theodore Geisel, whose books, written under the pen name Dr. Seuss, have delighted, as well as educated, countless children with whimsical tales of mythical creatures, (“The Cat in the Hat” arguably the most popular).
Its timely that the story of the walrus-like critter with the bushy moustache (the Lorax) has been adapted to the stage in a sparkling production by Britain’s ancient prestigious Old Vic Theatre. Now in its North American premiere at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre, the plot highlites corporate abuse of the environment and the efforts of an activist (Lorax, “who speaks for the trees”) to stop destruction of a massive forest paradise, which is home to Lorax and his fellow creatures,
Unfolding with theatrical imagination the show spins on loony humor, songs, clever puppetry (the best I’ve seen since “War Horse”), and a workmanlike cast portraying various characters while doubling as puppet manipulators. Its an attraction for kids of all ages, right up to 90.
The villain, Once-ler, played with fiendish charm by Simon Paisley Day, comes close to stealing the show from the Lorax (manipulated by three puppeteer-actors). We view Once-ler’s big business ethics as anathema, corporate hunger for larger profits, which threatens the stability of a vulnerable environment. Busines creates employment for the manufacture of products wanted, and required for comfort living, but its at the peril of poluting the atmosphere.
It serious stuff for the feel-good plot, but encased in the pizzazz of the stage theatrics, reality and fantasy (strange bed fellows here), are easily assimulated. Over the years, Dr Seuss’s curious rhymes and couplets have become familiar to children and parents and in this hit British production, their familiarity is a comfortable built in advantage. The show has great appeal for a young audience and could subliminaly be instrumental in motivating them to lead the charge for renewal of the environment in the years ahead.
People, puppets, fantasy story, fantastical critters, music, color, inventive staging, a cornucopia of visual and mental stimulation onstage at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre through January 21.

Providing a Fresh Perspective for Burlington and Hamilton.

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