Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The Jungle Book at King Street Theatre

THE JUNGLE BOOK KING STREET THEATRE JANUARY 2016 Quick. Run, slither, jump , swing or pad and book now if you haven’t already for this sensational production hypnotizing audiences at King Street. It is not ‘just ‘a children’s show (although they love it ) it is for all ages a magnificent finely told production ( note – not the Disney version ). From the dynamic , mysterious opening ( ‘The Power of the Jungle”) one is hooked. Musically impressive and catchy it ranges from pop/rock to hot Latin-American and jazz among other styles. The first thing you notice upon entering is the spectacular jungle ‘set ‘sort of like hidden ruins with various levels of steps, trees , ropes etc. The lighting is tremendous too. A Markus Weber and Michael Summ Production the cast of seven tell the story based on Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book clearly, obviously having a whale of a time. It is a story not just about animals and survival in the jungle but also love, friendship and forgiveness , and ” us” vs “ them”( animals vs humans ) and The Outsider ( Mowgli) . As tousle-haired, cheeky man cub Mowgli , bright and energetic, Brayden Sim has great fun , playing and teasing Baloo and learning . A fine performance . Bagheera the black panther, who acts as narrator at times, was terrifically played by Maria del Marco , with dramatic black makeup and a nifty costume .She is one of the leaders of the jungle , far older and wiser than Mowgli and she tries to teach him what he needs for survival . Mowgli’s fun, relaxed and playful side was brought out by Falstaffian Baloo the bear, delightfully played by Mark Power .( I liked the brown makeup and the oversize feet ! ) .He has a great time teasingly teaching Mowgli and seeking sleep and honey and eating ínvisible fleas out of the hair of some of the children in the audience . Glamorous , dangerous Kaa, the exotic python with sunglasses , was slinkily played by Mandy Fung in a stunning gold costume with a veeerrry long train that she uses to trap people. Warning – do not look into her hypnotic eyes! King Louie of the monkeys was lithely, joyously played by Kodie Amos.He wants to be like Mowgli but cannot stop chattering and moving. At one point he kidnaps Mowgli but is forced to release him by the other animals. Colonel Hathi of the Indian Elephant Brigade, with trumpet , was marvellously performed by Kyle Stephens in full grey Indian Army impressive uniform. He is portrayed as slow but solid and dependable , marching left right one two .. The villain of the peice , fierce Shere Kahn the Bengal tiger , bent on revenge was tremendously , strongly played by James Stevenson in a costume including orange striped hair , a black leather jacket and striped ‘paws’. He has a popstar like solo with a microphone full of pride anger and assured dominance ( “Shere Kahn is here , the lord of fear”) . A most wonderful , very moving production that will enchant all ages. Running time 75 minutes (approx.) no interval The Jungle Book runs at King Street Theatre 11 -30 January 2016

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