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The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Published on August 31st 2005.

Summer is ebbing away. The nip in the air heralds the start of Autumn and the backward march of the clock. Time to anticipate winter in all its glory .Perhaps even the Christmas panto. Time for one last summer fling. A chance for the whole family to throw themselves into one last pleasure before school restarts and the serious business of our weather overtakes us.

What better than this adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s 100 year old ‘The Jungle Book’. Though a musical version, this is the only resemblance to the Walt Disney film. Nothing in such film equates to what happens here. This version is a different two hours of family pleasure as the talented cast perform this Birmingham Stage Company version with vitality and enthusiasm.

The story is one of a child raised in the jungle by wolves who, in the end, the child finds more amenable than the humans he meets. Kipling was obviously a perceptive man.

The action is fast and furious, well designed with first class costumes. The animals had been well tutored and their movement excellent. I found the concept of ‘Ramma’ the bull most interesting.

The music helped the onstage story, but in the main was unmemorable, with the major exception of the final number ‘Jungle Law’. A shame this song could not also have started the proceedings.

The age of children attending the show needs to be between 5 and 10. There are some necessary parts (particularly at the start) which caused some unhappiness and tears amongst one or two of the under 4s.

The cast were uniformly good .A special mention for Trevor A Toussaint as ‘Balloo’. An excellent endearing portrayal which embellished the evening. I also particularly liked Suzanne Ahmet as ‘Kaa ‘ ; cleverly designed to maximum effect.

All in all a first class production heaven sent for families who wish to end their summer with a taste of a musical embroidered by pantomime, within a classic tale well acted in a great auditorium. What better way to meet one of our greatest storytellers.

It is only on until this Saturday (2nd September) with matinees on Thursday and Saturday. The Lowry deserves support and much approval for bringing this entertainment to Salford. Well worth a family outing.

Richard Burbage

The Lowry
Salford Quays
Lowry Box Office 0870 787 5790

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