Huge Broadway smash hit musical and now iconic film, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas – The Musical had its much anticipated arrival at The Lowry this week as it embarked on a four week run spanning the whole of the festive calendar.
Based on the 1950’s book by Dr Seuss, the story tells the infamous tale of how ‘one of a kind’ Mr Grinch hates everything about Christmas and will do anything to stop the small town of Whoville enjoying the holiday season too. With a heart that’s ‘two sizes too small’ this grumpy, green Grinch, who lives in a snowy mountain cave high above the town, will do anything and everything to ensure the colourful townsfolk don’t receive their presents on Christmas Day.
The story is narrated ably by a larger than life dog, Max, played by TV and comedy legend, Griff Rhys Jones and seen through the eyes of his younger-self, X Factor winner, Matt Terry. Both characters light up the stage with Terry excelling in both his vocals and onstage movement; a co-ordinated present catching scene with The Grinch launching gifts everywhere being a distinct highlight and one that amazed the wide-eyed audience of young and old alike.
The Grinch, played by Edward Baker Duly, decides to ‘steal Christmas’ from the villagers by dressing up as Santa and depriving the Whoville people of their presents but what he doesn’t bargain for is a small girl named Cindy Lou interrupting his wicked scheme. Baker Duly is an incredible Grinch and he performs every aspect of the scheming character with attitude, sass and perfect comedy timing. Jim Carrey played and moulded this part on film but it has to be said that Duly Baker is every bit as good and he held this Manchester audience in the palm of his hand from start to finish.
The diminutive Isla Gie at just eight years old plays Cindy Lou and does so much more than stopping the Grinch stealing Christmas, she also steals the show in the process. Her performance is way beyond her years and her sugar sweet vocals and cute delivery of the story really wowed the audience and her wide-eyed innocence illuminated the show alongside her grumpy, green friend.
All the supporting cast in this colourful extravaganza work well and really evoke the traditional styling of Seuss’ animations with an almost clockwork movement and overtly happy exterior. With costumes so bright and colourful the stage at times looks like a huge sweet shop and the sets opens up like the pages of a Seuss book with a hand drawn quality to the scenery and special effects a plenty to marvel at.
Sound, lighting and production are all of the highest quality you would expect from a hit show and the story flows simply and beautifully. Look out for a spectacular sleigh ride that the Grinch embarks on with Max as he descends from his dark snowy cave down into the colourful town and an amazing snow scene which had the whole theatre spellbound and children cheering with delight.
With a running time of only 90 minutes it’s perfect for the younger audience members to enjoy and has a little something for everyone within its brightly scripted story. All the songs are not particularly stand-out or memorable but they are not out of place either and the whole audience let out a collective ‘aaaahh’ as Cindy Lou sings a heartfelt ballad to Mr Grinch as she interrupts him stealing all her Christmas presents. As the audience melts on her every note, so does the icy exterior of the Grinch and his heart finally increases in size and Christmas takes on a new meaning.
This show is feel good family fun and will delight audiences young and old throughout the festive season so don’t be a grumpy Grinch and get yourself down to The Lowry Theatre this Christmas, you will not be disappointed.
Runs at the Lowry, Salford until 5th January
The Grinch @ The Lowry Theatre, 8 The Quays, Salford M50 3AZ
Various showings until 5th January