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Edinburgh Fringe 2016

The Cat In The Hat

Paul Taylor-MIlls

Genre: Children's Theatre, Physical Theatre

Venue: Pleasance Courtyard – Pleasance One


Low Down

Two young kids are bored at home, sitting alone in the days when social work would not call for such abandoned kids. Out the cupboard comes the magical and the mythical Cat in the Hat who brings mayhem and wonderment to the bored day’s proceedings.


The entrance of the cat, the objections of the fish, Thing One and Thing Two out the box, caught by the net, returned to the box and the tidy up after are all out the wonderful world and book of Dr Seuss. This does not play fast and loose with the storyline and if you know it, it’s mainly all here.

You cannot fault the energy levels that go into this. It starts at frenetic and maintains it throughout. We have a cartoon set with the two kids sitting bored. The cat is in the right type of costume and complimented by two other cats who appear to help out. The music and dance with which we get introduced to the whole shebang gives us time to settle and there is a lot of settling to be done. At midday on a Saturday most of the audience is about 5 to 10 and a little raucous. It takes a few minutes to get them on board and then we are off.

Everything around this is fun. The interaction with the audience which is not Seussical and the fun which is funny which is, has such a tempo that the gusto sweeps any opposition from us. My two guides for the day aged 8 and 9 – loved it. They especially liked the interactive bit with the balls which was a very clever way of getting the mayhem out front. Whilst I do prefer the whole Slava esque stuff to some of the other things this was a glorious, yet standard, fare for the kids. If you are wondering what to take the under 10s to, this must be right up there as a very real possibility.

And if you can hear a but, here it is. It is standard fare. There is no pretence it is otherwise and with such a classical text you have leeway but not latitude in using it and developing it. You need to hear the words in the order – roundabout – in which they were written. The script is from a book. It lends itself to theatricality but the balancing of everything causes problems as does the ending. At the end of the book you can write what you want – you have absolutely no responsibility for ever making it happen but on a stage…

Whilst I do think it was the best use of a mobility scooter I have ever seen, entering with it dressed as the tidy up machine and then people having to pick everything up dispelled the magic – needs something theatrical. There were highly creative moments where we got slow motion and interpretative dance, three cats so maybe the bar was set and they ran out of steam.

Overall then this got big thumbs up from my two and my only disagreement was that I thought we could have got more out of it, theatrically speaking, especially towards the ends.