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Everyone loves this mayhem-causing cat

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Starring in The Cat in the Hat are, from left, Kate Hammer, Shawn Purves and Vuk Prodanovic.
What could possibly be more fun than being allowed, without repercussions, to make messes, toss things about and smile while doing it?
As every kid under 10 knows, those kinds of actions, especially inside the house, are generally not accepted - unless of course you're slap-dab in the middle of a Dr. Seuss tale known as The Cat in the Hat.
Tall and lanky, cheeky and mischievous, the Cat will charm the hearts and imaginations of everyone who is young and young at heart, with his antics.
Played by Shaun Purves, the Cat comes to the stage this week, in all of his furry glory and outrageous striped and tall hat.
"Causing mayhem and trouble as Cat is a lot of fun," Purves said. "He's allowed and encouraged to make messes and more or less make as much trouble as he likes.
"He's a projection of a youngster's imagination gone wild, he just happens to be a cat, and it is a great role," he added. '"It's an interesting role, with lots of comedic moments."
As a teacher at the arts-based Studio 9 school, he said his students are "really into what I am doing. They're very supportive."
And rightly so - it's not everyday one gets to be taught by a mischievous cat.
The kid-friendly play will run for three days, and includes two matinees at Kelowna Actors Studio. The bold retelling of the beloved Dr. Seuss classic children's book promises to put visual magic, daring acrobatics and special effects on stage to keep little ones enthralled.
Joining Purves in the antics of the somewhat naughty Cat, will be the iconic and acrobatic Thing One (Marisa Piatelli) and Thing Two (Andrea Sorestad), and Shanelle Conelle as the hilarious and outspokenly cautious Fish.
The Cat busts up the boredom of a rainy afternoon with madcap style, by bringing unbridled chaos to the cozy home of Sally, played by Kate Hammer, and her brother, played by Vuk Prodanvic.
He brings the trickiest of tricks and craziest of ideas to the pair, who at first are reluctant to see the mayhem Cat can create.
"Luckily, Thing One and Thing Two are dancers, and they really do get quite a workout," added director Margaret Gobie.
"Shaun impressed me in the auditions. He was a very animated cat. In the show, which is based on the London (England) production, he balances everything and he's helped by One and Two, who actually start off as kittens. They're like stage hands, an added set of hands."
Since the play is geared to youngsters, the production is "user friendly" with a running time of 45 minutes, making it easy to sit through, even for children as young as three or four years old.
"The appeal is there because it is so theatrical, well-known and moves fast," Gobie added. "The imagination factor is fabulous, the verse and poetry of it makes it fun to follow. And the overall zaniness, the idea of wrecking havoc inside your house on a rainy day is fun."
With costuming done by long-time idea-master Hazel Rodgers and a set design to stimulate all imaginations, the Cat in the Hat will keep kids happy for an afternoon or evening of entertainment.
"We've really tried to keep the Cat as close to the book as possible," Gobie said. "So Shaun is furry, black, white, red and a little blue. Our talking fish is an actor and a puppet."
As an introduction to live theatre, The Cat in The Hat is a good choice, with familiar antics and enough action to spark vivid imaginations.
The audience will also have an opportunity to interact with the Cat and other characters after the performance.
A fitting end for a fun production and as Cat likes to point out, "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."

QUICKFACTS
What: The Cat in The Hat, presented by Kelowna Actors Studio.
When: Thursday, Feb. 2-March 2 with performances at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.; weekend matinees at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Where: Kelowna Actors Studio, 1379 Ellis St.
Tickets: KAS box office, 250-860-2867, KelownaActorsStudio.com

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