Jungle Book reimagined is set in the future, where the impact of climate change floods has humans leaving the cities for higher ground. Mowgli, a climate refugee, is lost to the waters and saved by the animals who have now claimed the city, the human concrete jungle, as their own. A hunter is killing off her new animal family as Mowgli learns to adapt. The story follows much of the familiar plot with familiar characters – Baloo (a former dancing bear), Bagera and Kaa (former zoo inhabitants), and the monkeys (former lab experiments). The choice to make the animals not wild but from human captivity labs, zoos, etc. is really impactful.
Video and projection design by YeastCulture gives us beautiful animations to show flashbacks of Mowgli’s life and changes of setting, as well as bigger and smaller animals (e.g. elephants and rats) to allow for a range of animal characters not being played by humans. The line drawings are often transparent, allowing for front and back projections. The ensemble is superbly able to emulate the essence of the animals: wolves to monkeys to elephants. Their movements are so familiar and the characters so clear.
Through the use of voiceovers we hear the animals converse and move the story along, making it really accessible to those who may find pure dance hard to interpret. The story is familiar enough, with lovely humour throughout, this is definitely a family-friendly production that young and old would enjoy alike.
Bagheera, played by Holly Vallis, is glorious. Vallis is impressively cat-like with their fingers curled under to create paws and beautiful extensions like cats stretching. They are elegant and powerful. Baloo, played by Tom Davis-Dunn, is utterly charming. He is able to give a weighted energy when upright, making himself seem larger, and yet has a lightness and playfulness in his movements. Kaa the great python, is created through boxes being moved by the ensemble in an almost puppet-like creation. It is fabulous! The movement of the individual boxes allows for the snake-like movements across the stage. Absolutely inspired choice!
The storytelling is beautiful, the choreography powerful, and the animation utterly charming. Jungle Book reimagined is a triumph!
The infamous Sh!t Faced Showtime are back in London with a festive edition, they have taken Dickens’ classic and put a drunken spin on it. The formula is the same as other iterations of the Shi!t Faced shows, one member of the cast has been boozing, and this time it is John Milton who plays Scrooge. Before the show, half a bottle of Jim Beam, some wine, and beer have been consumed in the previous 4 hours. The rest of the cast, try to keep the show on track, also aided by James Murfitt as the compere, Charles Dickens. The … More A PISSEDMAS CAROL – REVIEW – LEICESTER SQUARE
Spine-tingling yet heart-warming, Mark Gatiss’s retelling of A Christmas Carol truly encapsulates the haunting atmosphere of a Victorian ghost story, balanced out with enough humour so as to capture the festive season. Led by Keith Allen as Scrooge, with Peter Forbes as Marley, this show is perfect for Christmas viewing. The set design by Paul Wills is instantly captivating, containing stacks of metal cabinets towering over the theatre, moveable by the cast to allow space for other central props like doors, beds and tables. In addition to this, the puppetry design by Matthew Forbes is incredibly clever, adding creepy elements to the show such … More A CHRISTMAS CAROL – REVIEW – ALEXANDRA PALACE
The title of this winner of Theatre 503’s 2023 International Playwriting Award by Roxy Cook may seem like the set-up to a joke, but the narrative that unspools is instead an affectionate, gently barbed and at base quite sobering portrait of three ordinary souls (and one restless feline) adrift in modern Moscow. There is much affable, satirical back-and-forth commentary on the accepted myths & stereotypes of the Russian spirit & soul. Beset by the indignities of age, opportunism, graft, fatigue, the characters orbit one another, doomed to play out their roles in an unjust, predatory and saturnine universe. The play opens … More A WOMAN WALKS INTO A BANK – REVIEW – THEATRE503
Peter Pan Goes Wrong first premiered in London at the Pleasance Theatre in 2013, and earlier this year the show made its Broadway debut. Now the production is back in the West End for the Christmas season. Following on from The Play That Goes Wrong, in this production, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan is staged by the fictitious Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society and goes awry, disastrously so. The meta-comedy is filled with slapstick comedy, sometimes the humour may be predictable and silly, but it’s universally funny throughout – there is something for everyone here, and the laughs come thick and fast … More PETER PAN GOES WRONG – REVIEW – LYRIC THEATRE
Drawing heavily from the classic canon of the British supernatural, HighTide’s trio of contemporary Gothic narratives uses traditional storytelling formats to address contemporary themes. Directed by Elayce Ismail, reverent musical interludes accompany tales of apparitions and nighttime conjurings that speak of women from the East of England. Unfortunately, the effect is less chilling and more lightweight, with conventional structures, predictable plot twists and an over-reliance on external forces to drive narrative shoring up some of the less relatable aspects of the genre. Nicola Werenowska’s The Beach House, perhaps the cleanest of the three tales, tells of a mother and daughter’s … More GHOST STORIES BY CANDLELIGHT – REVIEW – SAM WANAMAKER PLAYHOUSE