SEUSSICAL - A MUSICAL by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, directed by Allen MacInnis (Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People, 165 Front East). To December 31. $20, child $15. 416-862-2222. See Continuing, page 96.. Rating: NNNN
CHASING THE MONEY by Dennis Foon, directed by Patrick McDonald (Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People/Green Thumb). At Lorraine Kimsa Theatre (165 Front East). To December 3. $20, child $15. 416-862-2222. See Continuing, page 96. Rating: NN Rating: NNNN
Like a lot of theatre aimed at young viewers, both shows at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People , Seussical -- A Musical and Chasing The Money , combine entertainment and message. But one's successful, the other isn't.
Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty 's musical version of several Doctor Seuss tales focuses on Horton the elephant, played with quietly seductive charm by George Masswohl . In one, only Horton hears the tiny inhabitants of the dust-mote-dwelling Whoville, including the imaginative Jojo ( Joseph Sevillo ). In another, Horton promises the restless, bored Mayzie (a flamboyant Cara Hunter ) that he'll tend her egg.
There's also Horton's neighbour, shy, sorry-tailed bird Gertrude McFuzz , who pines for the pachyderm but can't voice her interest. In the wings er, hands of Corrine Koslo , Gertrude is both hilarious and touching.
The Cat In The Hat (an extroverted Michael-Lamont Lytle ) is the show's narrator, and the Grinch and Yertle the Turtle also make an appearance. The high-energy production, played out in Michael Gianfrancesco 's colourful set, with smashing costumes by Phillip Clarkson , is a fine family show.
Directed by Allen MacInnis and choreographed by Nicola Pantin , it's a treat for eye and heart while slyly suggesting the power of the imagination and the importance of celebrating one's own qualities, no matter how unusual.
Its only fault is musical director Elizabeth Baird 's sound design. Those clever, rhyming lyrics, too often unintelligible, are an important part of the show's fun.
Dennis Foon is one of Canada's most accomplished playwrights for youngsters. In Chasing The Money , he tackles addictive gambling, which apparently is four times more prevalent among kids than adults.
Kip ( Nikolas Longstaff ) loves the rush of betting, offering odds on whether his teacher will fart or if he can talk a woman into letting him smell her shoe. Things become more serious he tries his luck on video lottery terminals and at the track when he connects with a debt-ridden magician ( Joshua Reynolds ) and his daughter Joey (the chameleon-like Erin Mathews ).
Too bad both script and director Patrick McDonald 's production for Vancouver's Green Thumb Theatre rush so quickly through the material. Few of its points about the downside of gambling, like loss of trust and the impossibility of beating the odds, stick with viewers.
What remains isn't the vital part. At the show I attended, the kids were more interested in the show's magic tricks and breakdancing than in what it talked about. The surer bet at LKTYP is Seussical.