Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The Jungle Book

A classic tale about a young boy who is raised in the jungle by a family of wolves entertained a theatre full of families last night.

The Birmingham Stage Company production, The Jungle Book, opened at Curve, in Leicester, for its five night stop.

It’s the shows fourth tour since its launch in 2005.

Stuart Paterson has adapted the well-known Rudyard Kipling story about a young boy called Mowgli, his friends Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther and his nemesis Shere Khan the tiger.

The jungle holds many dangers for the man cub who must return to the man village for his safety.
The title of the show might have you expecting to hear songs like I wanna be like you but this is not a stage version of the Disney adaptation of Kiplings story.

Music in this production has been specially produced by BB Cooper which still had some of the audience humming his tunes when the show had finished.

Samuel Hargeaves made a perfect performance as Mowgli. His cheeky nature and adventurous attitude were apt for the boy who grew up in a world without a normal structure to life.

The scenes with Mowgli and the monkeys were a fun part of the night. This is when the silliness was brought to the stage and the classic panto cries of ‘he’s behind you’ was used to encourage the younger members of the audience to interact with the characters.
Animal expert Peter Elliot created the fantastic animal movement in the play. Elliot created and played the apes in hit films including Gorillas in the Mist and Congo. For The Jungle Book he directed the bear, tiger and monkey characters.

With most family stories there are some hidden lessons to be learnt and The Jungle Book certainly had its own meanings.
One of them came from the scene with the monkeys. Mowgli thought it would be great to have fun all the time and to never be serious but he soon realised that rules and structure are important at times too.

The stage was dressed up with vines and had a moveable mound and steps in the middle. The interludes of music allowed the characters to quickly wheel these on and off stage without too much disruption to the play.

If you’re looking for some entertainment for the family this half-term then go see The Jungle Book.

Runs until April 16.

Originally written for The Public Reviews.

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