Reviewed by Rosemary Knight
Yesterday evening we visited The Lowry Theatre in Manchester to watch Leslie Bricusse’s spectacular Doctor Dolittle, starring Mark Williams, who is especially famous for his portrayal of Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter films, in the title role.
The story is based on the Doctor Dolittle stories by Hugh Lofting and the early musical film starring Rex Harrison and Anthony Newley and is all about a doctor who discovers that he can converse with animals. This version differs from the original as it has been brought up to date, with new songs as well as the recognisable older tunes including ‘Talk to the animals’, ‘My friend the doctor’ and ‘I’ve never seen anything like it’.
The show begins with Doctor Dolittle discovering that his parrot Polynesia, superbly played by Vicky Entwistle, can not only understand everything he says but can also converse with him and speak many different animal languages. She proceeds to teach him how to ‘talk to the animals’ and that is the start of his amazing adventure, travelling the world with his companions, Matthew Moggs played by Patrick Sullivan, Emma Fairfax played by Mollie Melia-Redgrave, young Tommy Stubbins and of course the menagerie of wonderful animals. Brian Capron is extremely funny and likeable playing both showman Albert Blossom and Straight Arrow. The singing and dancing are sensational and even when some of the performers sing a tiny bit off-key, their personality shines through, making the entire show so enjoyable.
The puppets are amazing including a dog, seals, a pig, a chimp, a goat, a duck and a two headed llama Pushmi-pullyu. The puppeteers control the animals so brilliantly that they fade into the background and you totally forget they are there and just concentrate on the animals themselves. Towards the end of the show Doctor Dolittle and his companions travel to discover the amazing Giant Pink Sea Snail, which is a huge pink fluffy creation and takes over the entire stage.
This is a lovely heart-warming production with a message imploring us to be kind to all animals and is especially suitable for families, especially at Christmas time. The puppetry, fantastic musical score and comedy make this a spectacular production. We loved it.
Tickets cost from £16 (booking fees may apply).
Doctor Dolittle is at The Lowry in Manchester from 11 December 2018 to 5 January 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.thelowry.com or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000