The reviews are in for ‘Cat in the Hat’ at CTC

Children’s Theatre Company is presenting the U.S. premiere of “Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat,” a play that remains true to the classic tale by Dr. Seuss. Originally produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain, the script is simply the text of the book, with lots of physical embellishments.

Reviewers of this show, aimed at very young theater goers, deemed it wild, delicious, splendid… and miscast.

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The cast of Cat in the Hat at Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis

Photo by Dan Norman

From Ed Huyck at City Pages:

The adaptation, crafted by Katie Mitchell, uses the situations from the book — and Seuss’s original verses — for the framework. The rest is Seuss-inspired madness, with sets and costumes seemingly pulled right from the book’s illustrations.

The actors are up to the madness, starting with Elise Langer and Douglas Neithercott as the Girl and Boy destined to have a wild, wild afternoon. They carry the piece in the first few minutes, wringing delicious moments out of the heightened sense of boredom. Anything can be an irritant in this frame of mind — such as a squeaky chair.

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Elise Langer as Girl and Douglas Neithercott as Boy in Cat in the Hat at Children’s Theatre Company

Photo by Dan Norman

From Rohan Preston at the Star Tribune:

The action, delivered with broad and small gestures by a jumping, running, leaping six-member ensemble, gives Ballweber’s production a lot of zest. And the cast is, to a person, splendid, even if some are a little on the older side.

As the title character with painted-on whiskers and a black spot on his nose, Dean Holt bears the featherweight of “Cat.” He pedals across the stage and jumps with flair and gusto, working up a lather. He is physically very expressive and always ready to pounce.

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Cat in the Hat, which runs through December 2 at Children’s Theatre Company, remains true to the book by Dr. Seuss, with no added dialogue.

Photo by Dan Norman

From Renee Valois at the Pioneer Press:

Director Jason Ballweber chose the right guy for the Cat. Veteran CTC actor Dean Holt conveys the goofy, devil-may-care attitude of the naughty, fun-loving feline with gleeful expressions and childlike athleticism.

Ballweber’s decision to cast middle-aged adults as the two young children is more problematic. Although the adult actors are fine at extreme mugging, they lack a child’s je ne sais quoi, and it’s impossible to mistake them for kids. They feel wrong in the roles. Given all of the fine young actors who have graced the stages of the CTC, it’s a puzzle why adults were cast — especially since this is not a long play requiring difficult memorization.

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Dean Holt is the Cat in the Hat

Photo by Dan Norman

From John Olive at HowWasTheShow.com:

As a reviewer I can harrumph and belch cynically as much as I choose, but with CTC the question is always: did the kids like it? The answer: yes, they did. They laughed and fell all over themselves. They will certainly have a good time at The Cat In The Hat. Parents will have to make their separate peace with the overly familiar material – and with the high ticket prices. As always, my advice is: let Grandma and Grandpa take the kids to CTC while you crack open that long-hoarded bottle of vino.

Have you seen CTC’s production of Cat in the Hat? What’s your review?

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