Festival Hall Edinburgh (venue)
26 November 2019 (released)
28 November 2019
Based on Dr. Seuss’ best-selling children books, HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS is the perfect anti-dote to overtly saccharine infused festive fare and an absolute delight for kids young and old. Vividly brought to stage, this Broadway hit musical marks the show’s UK premiere.
The plot is pretty straightforward: an old dog by the name of Max (Steve Fortune) remembers one particular event which took place in his youth, namely when he was in the ‘employ’ of a fearful and eternally grumpy creature called the Grinch (Edward Baker-Duly). The story then unfolds on stage in ‘flashback’, with a young Max (Matt Terry) as the Grinch’s loyal underdog. Both live in a cave on the snowy Mount Crumpit, north of the town of Whoville. The locals, simply referred to as the ‘Whos’, are a jolly bunch it would seem and are mighty excited that another Christmas waits just ‘round the corner. Busy with preparations of all sorts, their joyful carols (which can be heard from afar) are torture to the Grinch’s ears. Since he’s a mean spirit by nature whose heart is two sizes too small (like his shoes) he conjures up a devilish plan on how to sabotage Christmas, better still, ban it altogether. This he hopes to achieve by disguising himself as Santa Claus and Max as a reindeer. Forcing the poor dog to drag a heavy sleigh down the mountain, the two eventually arrive in Whoville where they slide down the chimney of one of the houses in order to steal filled Christmas stockings, an entire Christmas tree and to top it all, even a log isn’t safe from the Grinch’ claws. But when a little girl by the name of Cindy Lou (Isla Gie), who can’t sleep following a nightmare about the Grinch, interrupts the burglary his plans are momentarily thrown into disarray. Nonetheless he continues lying to Cindy and before the night is over he and Max have managed to rob all the houses in Whoville of their presents. Traveling back to Mount Crumpit, the Grinch plans on dumping everything the following morning but… what’s this? Instead of angry noises and cries, the locals of Whoville once more join together for some merry carol singing!
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”
Filled with remorse, the Grinch’s heart suddenly grows three sizes! He and Max make their way back to the village of Whoville and return all the stolen goodies to the delighted locals, including little Cindy Lou who welcomes the Grinch with open arms and re-assures him the only thing that has been missing to make their Yule a perfect one was the Grinch himself.
Spectacularly brought to live in this stage version, the highly imaginative sets, costumes (all candy-coloured and reminiscent of Christmas crackers), songs and choreography are an absolute joy to behold, occasionally bordering on the surreal (as one might expect from a Dr. Seuss adaptation). At the centre of it all we get a flamboyant and highly energetic Grinch and boy, can Edward Baker-Duly sing and dance! His number ‘One of a kind’ is an absolute showstopper! Equally delightful are the two ‘dogs’, Grandma Who (Karen Ascoe), Grandpa Who (David Bardsley), Mama Who (Holly Dale Spencer), Papa Who (Alan Pearson) and of course little Isla Gie as Cindy Lou, whose performance was heart-warming.
A particularly nice touch is an introduction by Scottish national treasure Gregor Fisher, who – surrounded by little children – reads out some verses from the book before the show begins. So don’t be a Grinch and treat your family, your friends or simply just yourself to see this exhilarating show!
HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS runs until Sun Dec 1st and tickets can be booked via www.capitaltheatres.com