BWW Reviews: CAT IN THE HAT Impresses Kids and Adults Alike
There's a good reason why the work of Dr. Seuss still remains part of American pop culture. His wit, humor, and iconic style are timeless, and his stories engage kids of all ages. If you don't believe me, go to Zach Theatre and see their stage adaptation of The Cat in the Hat. While kids will love the silliness of the titular feline, adults will be astonished and thrilled by the cleverness of the stagecraft.
The 40 minute long stage adaptation of Dr. Seuss's most well-known book is a delight to behold. While the show remains extremely faithful to the original, down to Seuss's rhyming text, seeing his characters come to life is a treat. Director Nat Miller captures the energy and spirit of Seuss's work and maintains a brisk, almost breakneck pace which keeps the kids in the audience completely entranced. His ability to recreate famous visuals from the book, such as one moment in which the Cat balances a multitude of household items on his hat and his cane, is amusing and cleverly executed. The lighting by Matt Webb and the sets and costumes (which are sadly uncredited) are all appropriately cartoony and borrow heavily from the beloved illustrations of the book.
Miller's cast is just as wonderful. Clint Harris and Taylor Bloom Davis are adorable as "Boy" and "Sally," two siblings desperate for something fun to do while their mother is out. Their childlike energy is quite fun to watch. Cassadie Petersen gives a brilliantly comic performance as the children's persnickety pet goldfish. Sarah Vasilas and Alessandra Manon are fantastic as the over-the-top, hyperactive Thing 1 and Thing 2. They dance, cartwheel, and run around the stage with so much physicality that you're bound to get tired just watching them. Their performance abilities and stamina are more than commendable. And as The Cat, Matthew Fitzgerald is superb. A human cartoon character, Fitzgerald uses every trick he has to entertain, and entertain he does.
But the true star of the show (and I've NEVER had the chance to say this of any production) is sound operator Pete Martinez. Virtually every contact any of the performers has with a prop-be it a kick of a ball, a swat of a tennis racket, or a splash of water-is met with a sound effect. This show, which I lovingly dubbed "fun with props and sound effects" when describing it to friends, must have hundreds of sound cues, and all are timed perfectly with the action. That timing is hard to execute properly, and Martinez's contribution as the sound operator is a massive one.
It should be no surprise that Dr. Seuss's wildly theatrical characters translate well to the stage, but Zach's production exceeds expectations. Forget your green eggs and ham. Cat in the Hat is one to savor.
Running time: 40 minutes, no intermission.
CAT IN THE HAT plays the Kleberg Theatre at 1510 Toomey Road, Austin now thru May 3rd. Performances are Saturday 4/26 and Saturday 5/3 at 11am with an additional performance on Saturday 5/3 at 2pm. Tickets are $22-$24. For tickets and information, please visit www.zachtheatre.org