All the Whos in Whoville
Written by Todd Zeigler
Directed by Kathryn Zeigler
Review by Kate Barry
Entire contents are copyright © 2015 Kate Barry. All rights reserved.
When I think of Christmas, what comes to mind are chestnuts roasting on an open fire, a carol or two and all of those hokey TV specials that you just can’t help but watch. Perhaps the most notable of Christmas specials is How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Surely you are familiar with the story of a hairy green goon determined to ruin the holiday for an entire town; it’s an absolute classic. Yes, this story is a seasonal favorite, but have you ever considered what it would be like if the Grinch and little Cindy Lou Who made contact with a different type of Who? A Who of the time and space traveling variety?
Playwright and actor Todd Zeigler has penned an incredibly clever and funny script that combines everything we love about Christmas with the quirkiness of Doctor Who. The result is an unlikely fable blending family and fan fiction providing for a perfect balance that is accessible even for those of us who are not quite familiar with all twelve doctors. I applaud Ziegler’s steadfast word play in the Whoville scenes complete with forced rhyme, Seussian word play, and narration, all while blending in Doctor Who’s irreverent dialogue. Additionally, Ziegler isn’t afraid to throw in an inside joke or two for the true Dr Who fans. What I found most fascinating about the script are the unlikely parallels between Seuss’s classic book and the cult TV show. Where The Doctor is the lone survivor of a planet destroyed long ago, the Whovillians face this potential doom at the risk of the Grinch. And due to recent events, these themes of community and solidarity are all the more poignant.
The ensemble brings boundless holiday spirit from the moment you walk into the theater. This energy is nonstop throughout the play. Kenny Harris plays The Greench and physically captures the body language and movement of the villain with a heart three sizes too small. Harris scurries, scatters, and trounces around with terrific force while delivering the right amount of grumpiness. Christie Troxell portrays Cindy Lou as a mother who has lost her zeal for holiday magic to the burdens of adult life. She balances the adult Cindy Lou with the responsibility of a Doctor Who companion with great effect. Laurene Scalf and Jane Mattingly bring great support as Cindy Lou’s mother and sister, Betty Boo and Suzy Q.
As for the ensemble of Doctors, these twelve actors each bring an individualized performance that is both original and respectful to the original doctors. As a troupe, these doctors do not skip a beat. Whether its Third Doctor, James Thompson calling to “reverse the polarity of the neutron flow,” or Meg Caudill’s Fourth Doctor and Twelfth Doctor David Thurmond passing lights through sonic screwdrivers, each Doctor is just as eccentric as the next one. Regardless of who your favorite Doctor is, it is certain these Doctors do not disappoint.
At first glance, Dr. Who and The Grinch may be unlikely pairing for the holidays. I admit I was skeptical. But after watching this heartwarming and wibbly-wobbly show, I am filled with the Christmas spirit.
The Doctor: Todd Zeigler
One: Jack Francis
Two: Joey Pate
Three: James Thompson
Four: Meg Caudill
Five: Stephen Peterson
Six: James Butterfield
Seven: Lucien Tomes Jr.
Eight: Andrew Hoehler
Nine: Ryan Beyer
Ten: Keaton Webb
Eleven: Brandon Smith
Twelve: David Thurmond
All the Whos in Whoville
November 12-15, 19-22 at 7:30 pm
ZTK Entertainment (a division of Acting for your Life)
Parkside Studio at Iroquois Amphitheatre
1080 Amphitheatre Road
Louisville, KY 40214
Kate Barry earned her Bachelors in English with a Theater minor from Bellarmine University in 2008. She has worked with many different companies around town including Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Bunbury Theater, Louisville Repertory Company, Walden Theater, Finnigan Productions and you have probably purchased tickets from her at that little performing arts center on Main Street as well. In 2012, her short play “PlayList” won festival favorite in the Finnigan Festival of Funky Fresh Fun. She has written for Leo Weekly and TheatreLouisville.com as well. Thanks for reading!