REVIEW: Audiences set to escape to the jungle in retelling of the Jungle Book
- Credit: Cathy Wilson EYT
If you're looking for a different world to escape to this half term - the jungle could be the place for you.
Parents, friends and theatre-goers filled the auditorium at the Maddermarket this week for Echo Youth Theatre’s production of The Jungle Book.
But those hoping for a standard retelling of a Disney story will be out of luck.
The cast, which was made up of young people, successfully prowled and pranced across the stage having constructed some complex and larger than life characters.
This version of the well-known story is a play with music, based of the book by Kipling and adapted for the stage by Stuart Paterson.
Echo's retelling is a fast paced, exciting play is set in a dystopian world that blends the urban jungle with the world of Kipling stories.
Expertly directed by Chris Davidson, the young people were supported to extract the human story from the animal characters.
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The very poetic chant-style songs written by one of the company's own young people, Acer Smith, and were confidentially performed by the cast.
This production was unexpected, visually stunning and brilliantly performed.
This even came down to the costumes which were without cliche despite reflecting the animal they represented.
Somehow they echoed animals through bohemian grunge styling without a feather or tail in sight.
Led by Thomas Hare, 13, playing the role of Mowgli on his journey from man cub to king of the jungle, he delivered the story confidently with a convincing depth of emotion, ensuring he kept the audience in the palm of his hand.
Special mentions are in order for Emerson Kelly-Clark, 14, who played Baloo and Amelie Mobbs, 16, who played Kaa - both of which had skilfully stepped into the roles to cover absent cast members.
They did so with an energy and enthusiasm which would lead you to believe they had been rehearsing these roles for months.
Firm audience favourites were the monkeys who filled the theatre with their presence.
All in all, this was a wonderfully wild night performed to a professional standard by the entire cast.
Do yourselves a favour and buy a ticket.