The Jungle Book at the Royal & Derngate Northampton Review

28 November to 31 December 2017

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Reviewed by Zoey Caldwell

The Jungle Book musical is based upon the novel by Rudyard Kipling and follows the story of the young boy Mowgli.

After his father is murdered by Shere Khan, Mowgli is taken in and raised by a pack of wolves. With Bagheera the panther and Balou the bear as a modern-day kind of family.

Deborah Oyelade plays Bagheera, the strong and sassy panther with attitude, and Dyfrig Morris, as Balou the bear, is a bumbling, irresponsible, hungry bear. Their partnership as parents is flawed and comedic. Life is sweet for the young Mowgli until he discovers that he is not just a unique wolf but in fact a man cub.

I have to be honest I was expecting the Disney interpretation of Kiplings’ book, however there wasn’t a Bare Necessity insight. The songs add a more grown up slant on the story and some have comedy value for the adults – watch out for Balou singing the Ballou’s. Morris brings a real charisma to the stage and be trusted to lighten the mood. The music is enjoyable, and my sons and I left singing the lyrics “Same, sun, same moon” on the way back to the car.

Lloyd Gomes (Shere Khan) has a rock/gravely tone to his voice and it is perfect for the evil villain of the piece. Mowgli doesn’t seem too scared though and the young man takes on the big cat in quite a dramatic way – my children loved the fire (red flower) scene especially.

It would not be fair to review the show without mentioning Keziah Joseph (Mowgli). Joseph gives a fantastic performance as a young boy facing the most challenging time of his life.

The show is fantastic, a show of true friendship between species. The ending is heart-warming, and I must admit my eyes almost started to leak with happiness.

All of us thoroughly enjoyed it… the funkeys were a personal favourite.

Rating: 5/5

Tickets cost from £10 to £30 (booking fees may apply).

The Jungle Book is at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton from 28 November to 31 December 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk or call the box office on 01604 624811.

Royal & Derngate, Guildhall Road, Northampton, NN1 1DP | 01604 624811

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