The award-winning Waterford –born director, Bill Stafford had another hit production on his hands with Seussical, a musical based on the children’s stories of Theodore Geisel, for the Arklow based Avonmore Musical society. This is a truly community group who take over a school hall and decorate it from door to ceiling to stage most imaginatively.
Padraig Reid’s excellent lighting set the mood when you entered the hall. This is a colourful, fast moving show and a splendid cast under the zippy musical direction of Mairead McKenna and the exciting choreography of Martina Lynch was crowd pleasing and a credit to all concerned. An underwater scene in McElligot’s Pool was beautiful and the principal roles were carefully cast to increase the enjoyment. Jonny Holden was an exciting physical Cat in the Hat who brought lots of pizzazz to the show and his young companion Jo-Jo, played so wonderfully by Olivia Sheehy, captured the heart of the audience especially with Alone in the Universe.
Ken Moroney was excellent in the sympathetic role of Horton the Elephant and he brought such authority and ability to the role. Rob Donnelly was excellent also as Mayor of Whoville. Naomi Penston was a spirited wild child as Mayzie La Bird and Rhoda Yoemans was a feisty Sour Kangaroo. Brianna Byrne was a beautiful Elephant Bird. My favourite was Paula McLoughlin as the sensitive neighbour Gertrude McFuzz.
I loved the excitement of the production, the large hardworking chorus and army of children that no professional production could afford or costume. The theme of the show – a people is a person, no matter how small – is a guiding light for many community and amateur musical societies and Avonmore are up there with the best.