Seussical The Musical Review – Southwark Playhouse


The family musical based on the stories of Dr Seuss, Seussical, will capture the hearts of audiences of all ages at Southwark Playhouse

A review by Susy Brett

Seussical retells the Seuss tale Horton Hears a Who!, while incorporating many other stories from the franchise. For those uninitiated with Seuss, Horton (Scott Paige) is an elephant that hears the call of a tiny planet filled with tiny aliens and becomes determined to save them from being ‘blown away’. Naturally, all the other animals in the jungle think he is bonkers, and begin to exclude and chastise him.

The set is a spectacle, filling the Southwark Playhouse with colour and playfulness and adventure. It is like walking straight into the world of Doctor Seuss, creating a wonderfully immersive atmosphere. Throughout the show, members of the cast mingle and talk to the audience, and one particularly hilarious scene has front row audience members playing a crucial part in the narrative.

Seussical is a rare joy, a family musical that is as enjoyable for adults as it is the kids whom they accompany. It does this in part through a very catchy soundtrack. The opening number ‘Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!’ is bright, spirited and likely to be stuck in one’s head for days, as will unrequited love epic ‘Notice Me, Horton!’ and Horton’s recurring refrain ‘A person’s a person no matter how small’. The music is filled with fun and catchy lyrics, while the accompanying ensemble choreography is fantastic.

The musical is nearly all songs, which works in its favour. Some lines are spoken in limericks, though this is thankfully used effectively. It means it is difficult to get bored, and for a production that is only 75 minutes long it feels packed to the brim with interesting numbers, characters and stories.

Marc Pickering is wonderful as the Cat in the Hat, incorporating fun and mischievousness and mime to maximum effect. Equally enchanting is Scott Paige’s Horton. Horton is a character one doesn’t usually find in a musical – he is unsure and eccentric and weird, yet Paige embodies him with something very relatable.

It is the story of an outsider that will win the hearts of older audience goers. Alienated for wanting to do good in the world, Horton’s story resounds as strongly in 2018 as when the original musical was produced in 2000. The payoff will warm even the coldest adult hearts.

Seussical is a treat for youngsters and adults alike, filling the audience’s heads with great songs and human characters, and our eyes with impressive colour and choreography.