AN IMAGINATION SEIZER
The Lorax is the tale of an ambitious young man called the Once-ler (Simon Paisley Day) on a quest to make his fortune. In a desperate attempt to provide a better life for his family, he creates Thneeds: an incredibly fashionable object make from the tufty foliage of the Truffula trees.
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 makes its first appearance in Canada at an even more pertinent time 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 offers a complex and nuanced portrait of a businessman who accidentally invents capitalism and kickstarts armageddon. He’s sickeningly relatable, endearingly hateable.
Manned by a trio of puppeteers (Laura Caldow, Ben Thompson, and David Ricardo-Pearce), The Lorax is the star of the show. 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.
This imagination seizer 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 LORAX adapted by David Greig December 9 – January 21, 2018 ROYAL ALEXANDRA THEATRE, 260 King Street West, Toronto TICKETS $69.00 – $175.00 www.mirvish.com 416-872-1212