By: Maddie DePree, Columnist
I love The Lorax. Humbly, I will assert that it is the best Dr. Seuss book to grace God’s green earth. I mean, humming fish! Barbaloots! Total ruin of the environment at the hands of capitalist overlords! What’s not to like?
Obviously, I jumped at the opportunity to see a live production of The Lorax at the Old Vic Theater in London this past week. So what if it was a children’s production? I would show up, get some popcorn and scrunch down in the seat to avoid blocking the children’s view with my massive adult head. It would be a win-win. My friend Reid wanted to come with, so we bought advance tickets and waited for the glorious day that we would be able to cash them in.
Finally, the day came. We had planned on grabbing dinner beforehand but Reid had an unexpected field trip, so we decided to skip dinner and meet at 6:30 instead. Exactly one hour before our show was set to start. We met up and pondered walking to the theater, but it was a forty-minute walk and we were feeling lazy. So, like the fools we were, Reid and I proceeded to Euston Station, the nearest subway stop.
In a horrific twist, the underground station was absolutely packed – like, standing-room-only packed. We could barely even see the escalator, much less use it to get down to our train platform. Being the slick problem solvers that we are, Reid and I turned around and powerwalked to Russell Square station. We had no choice – we had lost our chance to walk to the theater, so it was just us and the tube. Russell Square was more crowded than usual, but it was nothing compared to Euston (so we thought). At this point, we were cutting it close with timing – our show started in thirty minutes, so we had to just suck it up and proceed. We stepped into station’s huge elevator and stood helplessly as it lowered us into the very mouth of hell.
The moments that followed were truly surreal. The train that pulled up was so filled with people that I thought it would slow to a halt halfway through the tunnel. We crammed in amongst the Londoners and tried not to suffocate.
I cannot tell if this subway trip can be classified as an out-of-body experience, solely because I was so acutely aware of the amount of human bodies next to mine. The whole train ride was a series of mumbled apologies. It was unavoidable – hands were everywhere, and no one had space to spare. I was three inches from a stranger’s face. I think I saw straight down a French man’s throat and into his soul. We were that packed.
When we finally burst out of the subway, we had two minutes left to find the theater. I screeched in frustration. We checked the distance on Google Maps. A ten-minute walk.
“We missed it,” said Reid. He looked into the distance, stoic. “We aren’t gonna make it.”
I looked at Reid. Reid looked at me. And then came the moment in which Reid and I sprinted for two blocks to get to a children’s production of The Lorax. We paid actual money for this experience.
Somehow, some way, we bolted through the doors just in time. I retrieved our tickets from the box office, threw them at a bewildered employee, and dragged Reid to our seats. We made it. We were sweaty and red-faced, and we smelled like a thousand Londoners, but we made it.
And you know what? Those humming fish were worth it.