By Amanda Murthy
Chisholm Catholic College students, supported by a team of staff, took centre-stage at their school grounds to deliver a vibrant and exhilarating performance in their latest production Seussical – highlighting the values of friendship, loyalty, faith and love.
The musical – inspired by well-loved characters from Dr Seuss’ stories including Jojo McDodd, Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, the Sour Kangaroo, the Grinch, and Lazy Mayzie – took place from 8 to 11 May.
Narrated by The Cat in Hat, the story begins in the Jungle of Nool as the audience learns about Horton, a kind-hearted elephant (played by Patrick Volpe) who discovers a speck of dust that contains tiny people hailing from a town called Whoville. He meets Jojo, a “Who” child sent to military school for “thinking too many thinks”.
Horton decides he must protect the speck of dust on a nearby clover, while at the same time protecting an abandoned egg left to his care by the lazy Mayzie la Bird. So he tries to convince the other animals in The Jungle of the existence of the Whos, but the plot takes a turn when Horton is ridiculed and put on trial for insanity. Only his loyal neighbour, Gertrude McFuzz, never loses faith in him. Eventually, the two fall in love.
Despite all odds, Horton and Gertrude band together to save the Whos, free Horton, and restore peace and unity to the Jungle of Nool.
Throughout the three-hour performance that included a short intermission, the 100-strong cast captured the hearts of their audiences young and old with the accompaniment of their 18-piece live orchestra, conducted by Samantha Ashman.
Taking turns to narrate the play through song and equally exceptional choreography, the cast delivered flawless performances, gaining thunders of applause from numbers including the crowd favourites opening song Oh the Things You Can Think, Amayzing Gertrude, Monkey Around, Amayzing Mayzie, How to Raise a Child, and the finale piece The People Vs Horton the Elephant.
Chisholm College Principal John Bormolini expressed his congratulations and thanks to everyone involved in the musical for the commitment, co-operation, personal sacrifice, and teamwork for their months of hard work and preparation.
Seussical Director Rebecca Williams said the positive energy from the musical cast and crew made the process of the production with tasks like learning songs, choreography, walking on stilts, juggling, unicycle riding, and playing live musical instruments a fun experience.
“Bringing to life the wonderful characters and the world of Dr Seuss by our committed cast and crew has been a challenge especially because we were involved in every aspect of a production off and on-stage, but at the end of the day it was so worthwhile for all involved,” she added.
Horton the Elephant actor Patrick Volpe said the main message of the show could be summed up in one of the songs; “A person is a person, no matter how small”, which essentially explains that respect and care should be given to all people no matter the circumstance.
Student Le Vinh Tran, who channelled two characters including the principal narrator Cat in the Hat, added that he was excited to play the unique role of the nostalgic, mischievous and fun cat as a tribute to such a wonderful character and he definitely did exceed all expectations.
Overall, Seussical was a well-thought out, impactful and deeply entertaining production that deserves no less than a standing ovation for their professionalism and on point execution. A must-see and guaranteed to leave one with a lasting impression.