BWW Reviews: CATCO is Kids' THE CAT IN THE HAT Brings Dr. Seuss' Book to Life
Too wet to go out. Too cold to play ball. So we sat in the house and did nothing at all.
Dr. Seuss, THE CAT IN THE HAT
The opening pages of Dr. Seuss' THE CAT IN THE HAT give a perfect description of a dismal January day in Columbus. CATCO is Kids production of THE CAT IN THE HAT at Studio One Theatre in the Vern Riffe Center might be the perfect cure for families suffering from cabin fever of the city's muck and mire season.
THE CAT IN THE HAT, which is directed by Joe Bishara, should not be confused with often produced SEUSSICAL: THE MUSICAL. The latter takes characters and plotlines from several Seuss tales, meshes them together and adds music. THE CAT IN THE HAT is a straightforward, word-for word retelling of the book on which it is based.
CATCO is Kids' production brings the book to life. With its bright pastel colors and action words like Plop! and Thud! that drop down from the top of the stage at the proper moments, the set looks like it is a three-dimensional drawing of the opening page of the book. Everything from the chairs, the cake and the cleaning machine, the Thinga-ma-jigger, looks exactly the way it does in the book.
Japheal Bondurant, a CATCO acting apprentice for the 2013-14 season, is perfectly cast as the Cat In The Hat. Bondurant, who has played everything from William Barfree in THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE to and Motor-Mouth Maybell in HAIRSPRAY, gives the cat a maniacal laugh and a mischievous grin as he conducts the sound effects of the show. Emily Turner, another CATCO apprentice, provides the voice and puppetry of the worrisome gold fish.
Four Central Ohio child actors also help bring the show to life. Krystyn Norris (Sally) and Kelan Huffman (the boy) are delightful as they share the narrator's role. They do a fantastic job of playing off each other and the cat's antics. Olivia Poling and Grace Burkhart use their dance backgrounds and facial expressions to bring life and character to silent Thing 1 and Thing 2 respectively.
The show is designed for children between the ages of three and eight years old but there's something for just about everyone in the production. The 30-minute time frame is perfect for that age; it's long enough to tell the story but short enough to keep it from getting boring. If your children like THE CAT IN THE HAT book, they should be entertained by CATCO is Kids' production.
CATCO is Kids offers two half-price previews for The Cat in the Hat 9:45 a.m. and 11 a.m. Jan. 17, at the Studio One Theatre at Vern Riffe Center (77 S. High St. in downtown Columbus). Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children.
Opening night is 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17. Other performances are 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Jan. 18, Jan. 19 and Jan. 26 and 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Jan. 25.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children all performances, and can be purchased at the Ohio Theatre Ticket Office, 39 S. State St., all Ticketmaster outlets, and www.ticketmaster.com. To purchase tickets by phone call 614.469.0939. The box office will open two hours before show time. For more information, visit catcoistheatre.org.