Review: NWCT’s “The Cat in the Hat”

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“The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house all that cold, cold wet day.”  These words, spoken appropriately to a Portland crowd, kicked off The Northwest Children’s Theater‘s 2016-2017 season in Dr Seuss’s “The Cat in the Hat.”

cat-in-hat_cat_9-26-16-reviewBefore the show, I worried that a play from a book that many of us have nearly memorized would somehow ruin the original version, both for myself and my kids. I relaxed almost immediately however when the narrator’s voice started in with a word-by-word voiceover. It was clear the plan was to maintain Dr. Seuss’s perfect cadence and rhyme.

I spent most of the show watching the characters on the stage, taking in the costumes and enjoying the Seussian, out-of-this-world rubbery props and cartoon-drawn sets. But I also spent some time watching the reactions of the audience. It was hard to take my eyes off of one father, who spent the entire play taking in and smiling at the excited squeals from his young son. I thought, “This is why we are here. To remember what joy feels like.”

I hoped that my children and I would find one of our favorite, classic reads elevated, made funnier, and brought to life. We froze in our seats during crash and bang sound-effect moments. We laughed together during scenes performed in slow motion. Then the Cat appeared, driving his Thingamajigger, and I felt a little thrill, witnessing a childhood relic come to life on stage.

Most definitely stay for the reading after the show. John Ellingson, who plays the Cat, reads “Green Eggs and Ham” better than any of us parents could hope. And like adoring fans at their favorite concert, the children and grown-ups called out words to him when he paused for our responses.

This was a worthwhile and fun experience! I recommend the show for children ages three to one hundred and three.

Run time approximately 40 minutes. Most enjoyed by children aged 3+.

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Review by Mary Afsari-Howard. Mary is a wife, a mother of two and an Ob/Gyn physician.
She uses Avocados and Americanos to fuel her active days, and often busy nights.  Despite living her life in California, Boston and Connecticut, she calls Portland the only place she has ever called Home.  In addition to spending as much time as possible outside with her family, she has taken up writing to fill in the non-existent gaps in her day.  You can also find her blogging at www.speculumsandcoffee.com.

Mary and her family were given tickets to attend an opening weekend performance on behalf of PDX Parent for review.