“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.”
The Lorax is Dr Suess’ moustachioed and cantankerous critter (and the author’s personal favourite), whose mission is to protect the planet from the greedy, Tuffula tree-chopping, thneed-knitting businessman, the Once-Ler. THE LORAX was also a festive production directed by Max Webster at The Old Vic, which competed its successful season last weekend. Adapted by David Greig, who also did CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, currently running at Drury Lane, it’s a fable about environmental change and the damage humans can do to it. As a Christmas show it was full of the joys, but with a serious message, blending theatrical innovation, puppetry, a bunch of brand new songs and zany humour.
The Guardian’s Michael Billington called the production, “the best family show since MATILDA”.
“Stunningly brought to the stage,” as one critic wrote, as a puppet, simultaneously manipulated by three actors – Simon Lipkin, Laura Cubitt and Ben Thompson, who I missed out in my sketch, because he’s usually working closer to the floor and out of shot. No stranger to puppet theatre, Simon, an original cast member of the London production of AVENUE Q, provided the voice for the Lorax. Together with Ben and Laura, another with a penchant for puppets, including WAR HORSE for The National, they brought the title character to life.
I left the drawing at the theatre, because on the night I was waiting at the stage door, constant rain was dampening my enthusiasm and the artwork. It came back signed, including Ben with a kind note from Simon, explaining the additional siggy.