Greenwich production hits the West End

By Beth Allcock on December 28, 2012 10:15 AM |

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A multitude of much-loved characters created by Dr Seuss are making their last handful of appearances in the West End marking the culmination of a successful new venture by a Greenwich-based group.

Horton the Elephant, Sour Kangaroo, The Cat in the Hat and many more all have had their chance to shine in the family friendly show, Seussical, that is bursting with colour at the Arts Theatre.

Produced by the Sell A Door Theatre Company in Greenwich High Road, with the support of Greenwich Theatre, the show based on the books of Dr Seuss begins when Horton discovers an entire world floating on a speck of dust, and its concept is a first for the team and the London theatre scene.

Artistic director David Hutchinson said the group's debut venture onto the West End stage was driven by other successful children's productions.

"War Horse, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and Matilda - those shows all have young people as their target audience and have done so well," he said.

"They apply to young people but not just young people because we have all got a little bit of a child in us.

"Seussical is a family show as much as a children's show. Adults have been coming out crying and laughing - and that's the sort of show we wanted to bring to a bigger audience."

Actor David Hunter, who plays Horton, said the fast-paced plot centred on a message that appealed to all.

"It's a great little show," said the 27-year-old, a runner-up in this year's ITV Superstar competition.

"It has run on Broadway for a few years but this is the first time it has been shown in the West End, which is very exciting.

"It's a fast-paced, energetic, lovely show with a good heart and good message.

"Horton, my character, finds an invisible world on a dust speck and keeps it safe and tries to protect it from people.

"There are a lot of larger than life characters in the show but he's just one of the guys trying to do the best he can.

"Dr Seuss was a political cartoonist before he became a children's author and that's the great thing about Seussical the musical too: it's fun with the elephant and monkey but it's making genuine points and got a story to tell, that's what's exciting."

Emerging from the world of a television talent show, David said his role in Seussical was important in portraying how he wanted to be viewed as an actor - with a passion for roles that have not previously been seen on the West End.

He said the collaboration with Sell A Door, founded by his fellow graduates from the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA), presented an exciting opportunity.

He said: "It is a young company doing it just the right way. The biggest thing is the quality of its productions and every time you see one of them, the quality is just really high.

"Seussical could have been a really easy show to make fluffy, but that's not the way they saw it."

James Haddrell, artistic director at Greenwich Theatre, said: "The work we do in supporting young or emerging companies in realising their ambitions has become incredibly important.

"Sell A Door has built an enviable reputation for high quality theatre in the last few years, so to be able to support their West End debut has been hugely rewarding for us."

■ Seussical at the Arts Theatre, Great Newport Street, until January 6. Tickets priced at £17.50. Call 020 7836 8463 or go to artstheatrewestend.co.uk.

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