Book: Rudyard Kipling
Composer and Sound Design: Filipe Gomes
Adaptor and Director Poppy Burton-Morgan
Reviewer: Matt Forrest
When Rudyard Kipling penned The Jungle Book, never in his wildest dreams could he have imagined that likes of Shere Khan and Mowgli could be transported to the mean streets of London. However, director Poppy Burton-Morgan and the Metta Theatre Company have done just that in this bold, original and lively adaptation of the Kipling classic.
Our guide through the urban Serengeti is Baloo, (Stefano Addae) probably the first ever hip-hop bin man. Along the way we encounter a skateboarding wolf pack led by Akela (Matt Knight), the enchanting Kaa (Ellen Wolf) and graffiti-can wielding Bagheera (Kloé Dean). They are all intent on protecting the feisty female cub Mowgli (Nathalie Alison) from the claws of the vengeful Shere Khan (Kaner Scott).
This is a great family show with something for everyone: hip-hop, circus acrobatics and epic dance routines, with a hint of theatre. The hard working cast is fantastic and all get their chance to shine with moments of individual brilliance: stand out scenes include a bewitching pole-dance routine by Wolf and the drawing dropping movement of Scott. The choreography works in harmony with the fantastically catchy music and brilliant sound design of Filipe Gomes, which very nearly steals the show.
The show does have its flaws: the story loses its way through the second act and the ending is somewhat anti-climatic. There were also a few noticeable mis-steps but certainly nothing that would spoil your enjoyment and could be down to a few cast changes as a result of injuries.
Despite the rather ‘gritty’ setting, this is a good family show with a strong message for us all. By the end of the show the Quay’s theatre audience were up on their feet dancing and clapping along… everyone a jungle VIP. This is a great way to see out the end of the summer holidays for little and big monkeys alike!
Runs until 2 September, 2017