Dr. Seuss's The Lorax

Previewed 2 December 2015, Opened 15 December 2015, Closed 16 January 2016 at the Old Vic Theatre
Returned 15 October 2017, Closed 5 November 2017 at the Old Vic Theatre

The return of David Greig's stage adaption of Dr. Seuss's The Lorax to London for a special three weeks season.

"I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees!" Dr. Seuss' classic tale The Lorax tells of a moustachioed and cantankerous critter who’s on a mission to protect the earth from the greedy, tree-chopping, Thneed-knitting businessman known only as The Once-ler. The stage show blends both theatrical invention, songs and zany humour in a timely and vibrant Christmas show with a message that is sure to speak to audiences of all ages.

Recommended for everyone aged six and above. Adapted from the children's book by David Greig with music and lyrics by Charlie Fink. Directed by Max Webster with choreography by Drew McOnie, designs by Rob Howell, lighting by Jon Clark and sound by Tom Gibbons. This production returns here to the Old Vic Theatre following a successful season last year (previewed 2 December 2015, opened 15 December 2015 and closed 16 January 2016).

David Greig's West End stage adaptions include Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory currently playing at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and Herge's The Adventures of Tintin - Tintin In Tibet at the Playhouse Theatre 2007. Max Webster's London credits in Shakespeare's comedy Twelfth Night "re-imagined for everyone aged six above" at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park during 2014. Drew McOnie's credits include the forthcoming stage musical Strictly Ballroom at the Piccadilly Theatre in 2018.

When this show opened here at the Old Vic Theatre in December 2015, Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph described it as being a "fun but eminently disposable family show based on a 1971 book by Dr Seuss," highlighting that "playwright David Greig makes a decent fist of stretching a slim volume into a two-hour fare, abetted by songs from Charlie Fink that pastiche a variety of genres and a mix of inventive direction from Max Webster, superb choreography from Drew McOnie and cute puppetry supervised by Finn Caldwell." Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times wrote that "Seuss is up there with Roald Dahl for nutty invention and David Greig's ingenious text relishes this: written mostly in rhyming couplets, it revels in Seuss's wordplay and adds some mischievous updates... this is a joyous and all-too-timely show." Michael Billington in the Guardian thought that "this exhilarating adaptation by David Greig, with songs by Charlie Fink, retains the original message without ever being preachy or pious. Its liberal spirit is balanced by a wonderful sense of impending anarchy... In its mixture of verbal wit and social purpose, this is the best family show since Matilda". Ann Treneman in the Times said "the Lorax is inventive, gorgeous to look at and the puppetry magical... The environmental message, for an adult, seems rather unsubtle but then we may think too much. The kids were enthralled and they get the last word on this one." Paul Taylor in the Independent hailed it being a "deliriously engaging show, adapted in brilliantly bouncy and mad-with-a-method verse by the playwright David Greig from the Dr Seuss cartoon-story. It's also directed in an enchantingly show-biz-knowing, but also inspiring and never too wised-up production by Max Webster... Recommended for all ages, The Lorax combines the joys of making a strong case and making terrifically inventive theatre." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail comment how "director Max Webster duly mounts a spirited, colourful production with music; but the message ain't half rammed down the kiddies' throats. Mr Greig says in a programme interview that 'the last thing you want to do in a Christmas show is preach - you want to be joyful'. It is a pity he did not heed his own advice." Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard explained that "there's no getting around the fact a short book has been padded out; there is simply not enough narrative for a two-hour show. David Greig has done a skillful job of adding seamlessly to Dr Seuss's indestructible original verse, but doesn't succeed in making us care about the fleshed-out figure of the Once-ler... I struggled to understand exactly who this will appeal to. It's too odd and complex for younger children and not sufficiently three-dimensional for adults."

"Theatre is for life, not just for Christmas, which is one of many reasons that Max Webster's wonderful staging of Dr Seuss's The Lorax is such a good choice for the Old Vic's first family show. It's a theatrical delight which makes an important point: beware 'biggering' (one of Dr Seuss's delicious coinages), for it can destroy nature, big time. Playwright David Greig has wittily plumped up the original poem, staying true both to its spirit and its form of clever rhyming couplets... Rob Howell's sumptuous designs are inspired by the familiar illustrations of the Once-ler's lerkim, his whisper-ma-phone and, most gorgeous of all, the silkily towering truffula trees in the colours of the rainbow.... Music and lyrics by Charlie Fink of Noah And The Whale, especially the Supremes-style number and the heavy-metal one, make it a show to sing about." The Mail on Sunday

"Dr Seuss's funny but bleak rhyming picture book is a prescient parable, allying consumerist greed with environmental destruction... This could be preachy, if Max Webster's spectacular, high-energy production was not so theatrically satisfying. David Greig's adaptation is contemporary, but true to the original. Rob Howell's inventive set is a wonderland of loom-band palm trees and surreal fauna; the songs by Charlie Fink are gorgeous; and the puppetry, especially Simon Lipkin's voicing of the Lorax, is the best since War Horse. Simon Paisley Day's wild Once-ler is remarkable, though it's the puppet that melts your heart." The Sunday Times

Dr. Seuss's The Lorax in London at the Old Vic Theatre opened on 15 October 2017 and closed on 4 November 2017