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  • Writer's pictureFrances

Dr Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical Review | The Lowry | Manchester

Who’s like Christmas, and at the Lowry theatre their gorgeously unique world has been taken straight out of the 1957 picture book and placed on the stage. Writer Timothy Mason has stretched out Dr. Seuss’s 69 pages and immersed audiences in the reanimated world of Whoville to make How the Grinch Stole Christmas the ultimate musical feast.

Dr. Seuss’s adored classic has been extended with a stream of new songs, injected with multicoloured costumes and blended with a few famous faces. Edward Baker-Duly takes the cake, whatchamawho’s and Christmas tree as the charismatic Grinch. The One of a Kind performance sees the Grinch skirt between the everchanging set pieces whilst switching disguises and impersonations. Baker-Duly’s fantastically spirited performance is a delight to watch, and the moment he steps onto the stage it is clear he’s enjoying his cranky persona as much as the audience, taking his time to heckle and insult the kids and adults that catches his eye line.

The comedic charms of Griff Rhys Jones also bring otherworldly magic to the stage, while helping to remind audiences of the true meaning of Christmas. Narrating the show throughout and adding his own unique touches, Jones is all for getting the audience to singalong to the complex lyrics to You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch. Turns out “You're a bad banana with a greasy black peel” does not roll off kids tongues, but listening to an audience attempt to sing it in tune is a joy in itself.

The countless set changes and frivolous moments that are thrown into the polished production is guaranteed to keep audiences of all ages entertained. Jones as Old Max appears to be added just for the adults, leaving any strenuous physical performances to 2016 X-Factor winner Matt Terry, playing Young Max. The voice of reason, Sindy Lou, (played by Bebe Massey) is the best singer on stage, underscoring the show's themes of compassion and tolerance while taking her moment to shine in the sweetly performed Santa for a Day. The musical is driven by its songs including the popular Welcome Christmas and fun filler tracks This Time of Year and It’s the Thought That Counts by Mel Marvin and Mason.

Making its UK premier at the Lowry theatre, the large ensemble merges perfectly with the stages playful, cartoonish landscape as the show, directed by the three-time Tony Award-winning, Jack O’Brien, lovingly recreates Dr. Seuss’s animated world. The frothy soundtrack drives the candy-coloured world of Whoville, transporting audiences with some Grinchy improv, snowfall and flowery language.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical does not disappoint, delivering audiences the wholehearted fun of Dr. Seuss’s original book. Ensuring that the treasured, decades-old story continues to rally against the commercialisation of Christmas, the reshaped stage production preserves Whoville, the fantastical costumes and one of the worlds most treasured Christmas characters.


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