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 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

Haymarket - Jungle Book

5th December 2000 to 6th January 2001.

Review from the NWN.

Rattling good show

JUNGLE BOOK, at the Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke, until January 6

This was a spectacular show although the first surprise of the evening was meeting the two wolves in the foyer. Sophie said she liked them and added: "I'm very pleased that they weren't in cages. The wolves were called Dakota and Duma and they were sisters. The show was very good and it was about animals and a boy called Mogley. He was very friendly to the wolves and he didn't like the humans but that was what he was."

'Jungle Book, the Musical' was adapted from Rudyard Kipling's famous story with book and lyrics by Graeme Rigby and music by John Mayer. It was certainly visually stunning with a colourful setting and excellent lighting design. Dry ice and changing light effects gave the illusion of a hot, sticky, steamy jungle and the actors worked hard to sustain the mannerisms and behaviour patterns of the animals they portrayed.

Sophie loved the high wire act. "The monkeys were real acrobats and they were swinging right over people's heads on sort of thick strings. They had good costumes, they looked just as good as granny makes her costumes." Granny is looking embarrassed now, but she is a professional seamstress, so perhaps the compliment is not extreme.

This was not a traditional pantomime but it was a great show for children of all ages. John Mayer's Indo/Jazz score was very appropriate to the action and was skilfully integrated into a soundtrack that included every jungle sound you could think of. This lively performance had good pace from the actors and ran so smoothly that I was not aware of the director's touch which is the highest compliment that I can pay him.

Sophie writes: "I enjoyed it very much and as I was reporter I got a free drink and a special seat and in the middle I had an ice cream." So did Sarah, I mean granny, and so did I. If you're looking for a rattling good show this one is highly recommended.