Press Release


Tiverton Gazette


November 7th 2006

Willow Tree gets Seussical

   Seussical the musical is soon to be seen in Tiverton at the New Hall.
   It runs from November 27 to December 2.  With a cast of 47 players (only 20 of them adults), the show promises to be yet another triumph of the Willow Tree Theatre Company.
   At the Sunday afternoon rehearsals, held in the Memorial Hall, the place is packed with enthusiastic performers of all ages, reading lines and practising the many songs that are included in the show.
   It will be no mean feat to introduce theatregoers to all our old favourites from the Dr Seuss books that were originally written in the 1940s and are as popular today as when they first came out.
   Obviously the Cat in the Hat will be there, but so will Horton the elephant (who found himself with the sole responsibility for hatching an egg), the Grinch, Mayzie, Schmitz, the Sour Kangaroo, and of course Yertle the Turtle, plus many more.
   The show has had very successful runs in London and on Broadway, and was originally co-conceived by Eric Idle, of Monty Python fame, who co-wrote it with Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.
   With sponsorship from John Heathcoat and Co Ltd, which has supported the company's annual shows for a number of years, the Willow Tree Theatre Company is otherwise almost self-sufficient.  The costumes are all designed and made in-house by Denise James and her able assistants, while the scenery is designed and built by members of the production team.  Show director Jon Sowden, (who in a previous life was a professional London director who was, among other things, deeply involved with the late Queen Mother's 90th Birthday celebration), and the musical director Hilary Wickham ensure that everything goes with a "swing".

    And swing it will, as the show will be giving audiences approximately two and a quarter hours of golden entertainment.  Many of the players attend the Willow Tree Centre of Dance & Performing Arts, a well-established start for a performing career, whose students can range in age from "three to three hundred years".
   Indeed, 11-year-old Connor Van Bussel, who has a supporting role in Seussical, has recently auditioned for the part of Billy Elliot in London.
   Twelve-year-old Sammie Firbanks summed up the atmosphere and potential success of this production, when she said: "I am really enjoying being part of Seussical, it gives me a chance to use all of my skills.  It is great fun to be acting, singing and dancing on stage with all my friends, and it means a lot to me to be in this show.  The music in Seussical is really exciting and the show has something for everyone."
   Tickets for the show can be obtained either through Waterstone's Bookshop, previously Ottakars, in Fore Street, Tiverton, or for group tickets at reduced rates, by telephoning company manager Steve Gage.
   There will also be a Seussical fundraising Christmas Fayre at the Memorial Hall on Saturday November 18 from 12 noon to 3pm.
   If you want to be enchanted, and watch a show that has brought magic to audiences in London and on Broadway, I urge you to get some tickets, quickly!

Article by Penny Smale (Youth News)