REVIEW: The Lorax, Old Vic Theatre ✭✭✭✭

The Lorax at The Old Vic
Laura Cubitt, Ben Thompson and Simon Lipkin as The Lorax. Photo: Manuel Harlan

The Lorax
Old Vic Theatre
4 Stars

The Lorax returns to The Old Vic from 15 October – 4 November 2017. Book Now

I am the Lorax I speak for the trees!

It would be difficult to imagine anyone not enjoying the current Old Vic Christmas offering which takes the form of a stage adaptation of Dr Seuss’s cautionary environmental tale The Lorax.

When an entrepreneurial chap called The Once-ler leaves his family and heads out into the world to seek his fortune, he stumbles across the tuft of the Truffula trees. He takes the tuft and invents the Thneed – a versatile fashion invention that everyone needs. As demand for Thneeds grows, the Once-ler starts felling Truffla trees against the warnings of The Lorax, until there are no trees left.

This family-friendly adaptation adapted for the stage by David Grieg and with songs by Charlie Fink is an enchanting evening in the theatre that had children and adults alike under its spell from the minute it began.

As the Once-ler, Simon Paisley Day is a delightful antagonist, always betraying the trust of The Lorax but still deserving of last minute redemption of a kind. It’s a wonderful performance that is supported by an incredibly talented cast speaking mostly in verse, that remains true to the original text. Playing several characters each, they bring Dr Seuss’s tale to life in a fast paced-imaginative way. Soul-divas, brown Bar-ba-Lots, Swomee Swans and Humming Fish are amongst the fabulous inhabitants of this world that make the cast of The Lorax one of the hardest working ensembles in the West End.

The Lorax at The Old Vic
Ben Thompson, Laura Cubitt, Simon Lipkin and Simon Paisley. Photo: Manuel Harlan

The show’s title character is a two-foot force of nature, a magical creature designed by Finn Caldwell and bought to life by Simon Lipkin who also voices the character, Ben Thompson and Laura Cubitt. This incredible trio breathe life into The Lorax without once detracting from the magic of the creature itself. Watching this magnificent trio bent in half for most of the performance you have to wonder what the state of their backs will be by the end of the run. As the voice of The Lorax, Simon Lipkin once again shows that he is the go-to guy for puppetry characterisations in the UK. Simply wonderful!

Choreographer Drew McOnie shows that once again he is able to create interesting quirky choreography that fits well within the story-telling of the production. Together with the tight direction of Max Webster and colourful design of Ron Howell, the audience a cautionary tale of environmental catastrophe, made all the more powerful because the audience cares.

The Lorax is a colourful, magical, wonderful night in the theatre. Get your children down to see it and marvel at the magic that the cast, creative team and Dr Seuss weave. Here’s hoping that this production has a life after the Old Vic.

The Lorax returns to The Old Vic in October 2017. Book Now!

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