Portal Plays mount a must see show

anet Deakin (Producer) and Elliot Drew (director), Portal Players as a club, and the large and talented crew and cast of Seussical the Musical have scored nothing less than a triumph. One that every person in the valley over say age four or five should make a real effort to see during its run until March 7th. This is the closest thing to Broadway stage standards that we have seen locally for some time and are likely to see for a while. The run will only get better from here. This is a show for families and adults.
The sheer scale of the production is hard to describe – yes Portal may have overcome more complicated challenges in cast numbers, set and props design, lighting plan, choreography, and acting in the past; but never, to my knowledge, all at once. And never with the musical score and with voice demands as large and varied as were required to bring this off. This is simply the largest and most complex show Portal have ever mounted and they bring it great style. This production represents a mature club at the height of its considerable powers.
The talent on display is simply fantastic, with at times nearly thirty on the small stage, twenty of them miked for sound, with a further eight singers miked in the pit. The team that did the casting and found these voices is to be congratulated in a flawless effort, Janet Schlackl who did the hard work getting them to the level they are, must be very happy with the result. It is also a young cast, with the small Whoville children too cute and effective for words, despite being lined up and barked at by an improbable but suitably stupid general, but still breaking out into a delightful parody of one of those silly marine corp songs. The senior talent is too numerous to single out, but they can all really hold a tune and in some cases can really belt it out and vamp it up – oh yes I am a sucker for show tunes delivered with panache while marching about on stage.

Let’s send Jojo to the military academy. Libby Manson and Nathaniel Cain
The look and feel of the costumes and the set, with a couple of minor exceptions, are delightfully Dr Seussian and must have required considerable conceptual, carpentry and sewing ability to bring off and succeed in giving a coherent look and feel to the whole production. Real thanks must go to Stephanie Fortin and the seamstress crew for huge labour on these costumes. The quick and effective changes achieved with the Cat in the Hat, priceless as a sun glassed cop, among others, also really keep things flowing, as does the large revolve part of the set and the Horton tree and nest, also on wheels. The show moves along at a frantic pace, which is of course a requirement to keep the audience engaged in such nonsense. The choreography of the three or four black light scenes was quite wonderful and the sense of movement, achieved by presumably stage crew members, was simply great.
The show starts with a bang with the ‘Thinks you can think’ song, which gets the whole cast out onstage for an ensemble warm up and leaves the audience in no doubt that they are in for a treat. That the resulting plot, a mashing together of several of Theodor Geisel’s books makes at best only minimal and complicated sense, which matters not a speck of dust. The story is carried off with complete conviction by all up on stage and we go along with it. Learning as we go the Suessian virtues of loyalty, tenacity, tolerance, acceptance of ones self, and so on, after all a ‘a person is a person no matter how small.’
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And find tickets to the show - this is really a fine piece of nonsense carried off in great style