‘Grinch’ is a sensational sensory treat for all ages

Reviewed by Logan A. White
Times-News correspondent 

   DURHAM — A fun-filled storybook comes to life on the stage with larger-than-life characters, and the true meaning of Christmas all wrapped into a happy holiday present: “How The Grinch Stole Christmas! the Musical” is now performing at the Durham Perfoming Arts Center (DPAC), 123 Vivian St.
It’s the classic Dr. Seuss tale of the Grinch (Philip Bryan), a cranky Christmas cynic, and his mission to put an end to the persistent cheer of the holiday-loving Whos. Perched on the tip top of Mount Crumpit, he and his loyal canine companion, Max (Andreas Wyder), look over the bustling Whoville and ponder their joy. Naturally, Young Max is innocently caught up in the excitement, while the Grinch expresses his profound dislike for both the Whos and all things Christmas. After much thought and unpleasant reminiscing, the green grouch decides on a innovative yet terrible method for stopping the menace of the holiday — he, the Grinch, will steal Christmas. But what he least expects is for young Cindy Lou Who (Danielle Guilbot) to come along and maybe, just maybe, steal his heart instead.
   Narrated reflectively by Old Max (Bob Lauder), “Grinch!” is a sensational sensory treat for all ages. Philip Bryan is incredible as the scheming, skeptical Grinch, transforming from a sarcastic pessimist to a smiling Santa. Between his incredible expressions and acting to his comedic vocal twists and turns, Bryan somehow makes the Grinch despicable and utterly lovable at the same time. Both Andreas Wyder and Bob Lauder are perfect as the young and old personas of the dog Max, Wyder bringing a delightful, youthlike energy in contrast to Lauder’s grandfatherly wisdom and hindsight. Danielle Guilbot is innocently endearing as Cindy Lou Who, the youngest complement to an amazing ensemble of colorful, joyful Whoville citizens.    The sets seem to have leaped straight from the pages of the original book, creating a world of color that would make Seuss proud. Each musical number is unique and memorable, from familiar classics such as “Welcome Christmas” and “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” to fresh tunes that will have you singing as you leave the theater.
A Christmas treat for the entire family, “How The Grinch Stole Christmas! the Musical” is a show filled with both familiarity and surprises — and it’s guaranteed to make even a heart two sizes too small swell with joy. It’s a show that will take audience members of all ages back to the innocent exuberance of childhood instantly and fill your heart with Christmas cheer. It’s easily one of the best seasonal shows around.
“How The Grinch Stole Christmas! the Musical” is being performed now through Sunday at DPAC. There is a special sensory performance at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Tickets range from $30 to $140 and can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com.

Logan A. White is a home-schooled junior and a Teens & 20s writer.

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