Latest Review – Dr Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical [The Lowry]


The Lowry, Salford Quays

Until Sunday 5th January 2020

Twenty-five years after Timothy Mason and Mel Marvin’s musical adaptation of the Dr. Seuss children’s classic first premiered at the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis – and following acclaimed runs in San Diego, on Broadway (where it set new box office records), and at numerous other venues across North America – Dr Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical is finally making its long-awaited premiere here in the UK, and now plays an extended Christmas run at The Lowry, Salford Quays, following a short nationwide tour.

Recent years have seen The Lowry bring in something a little bit different for their festive season with the likes of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Elf – The Musical, and Doctor Dolittle, usually opting for lavish, family-friendly musical productions over pantomimes and traditional Christmas shows.

Now Dr Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical is certainly no pantomime, but it’s most definitely festive, and in Matt August’s magical production – originally created for the 2006 Broadway premiere and bursting at the seams with warmth, humour and boundless heart – The Lowry has a real winner on its hands.

While the staging can feel a little scaled-down on occasion (most notably in the slightly lacklustre front-of-cloth style sequences, which tend to lack the spectacle seen in other parts of the show), August’s production largely thrives in its quaint and quirky simplicity. From a visual perspective, John Lee Beatty (Set Designer) and Robert Morgan (Costume Designer) work brilliantly together to bring the whimsical tale fully to life with a host of fun and inventive designs inspired by Dr. Seuss’s own original cartoonish sketches and illustrations.

Edward Baker-Duly is outstanding as the scheming Grinch and clearly has great fun with the role, carrying much of the production with a commanding, charismatic and expertly rendered performance as the bitter, green grouch, hiding away in his cave atop the steep and snowy Mount Crumpit with his loyal canine companion, Max.

As that canine companion, the vastly experienced Griff Rhys Jones brings a real sense of reliability to the production as Old Max, who serves as the show’s narrator, and works well with Matt Terry, who plays Young Max with a playful exuberance.

Meanwhile, down in the town of Whoville, in the shadow of Mount Crumpit, the warm and merry Whos busily go about Christmas Eve preparing for the big festivities, unaware of The Grinch’s cruel and devious scheme to put an end to Christmas. As the rather eccentric and comical Whos, an excellent ensemble evoke real charm and excitement, particularly in the show’s big, fun-filled, high-energy production numbers.

Clocking in at just under the two hour mark, including an interval, The Grinch is short, snappy, and perfect entertainment for all the family this Christmas.

It is perhaps important to note that Mason’s book remains wholly faithful to the Dr Seuss original, hence the length, and despite new revisions for the Broadway production, doesn’t go into any details about the Grinch’s backstory to explain his grouchiness and disdain for the holiday period; details which were effectively added for the 2000 film adaptation. It is however nice to see that much of the original rhymed verse is retained, almost verbatim, and the cast deliver the rhymed dialogue brilliantly.

Dr Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical is ultimately a fun, charming and warm-hearted show, perfect for all the family, and it proves another must-see addition to the region’s already impressive list of seasonal theatre offerings.

Running Time: 1 hour and 50-minutes (approx.), including one 20-minute interval.

Final Performance at The Lowry: Sunday 5th January 2020.

For more information, and to book tickets, please Click Here.

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