9 May 2018

The Jungle Book Live at The Lowry

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling is the classic tale of a boy raised in the jungle by a pack of wolves and his struggles to gain his human identity. There have been several different adaptations of this story over the years, some better than others. 

The newest version is a contemporary take on this old favourite by the Children’s Touring Partnership and Royal & Derngate, Northampton. It is on tour at the moment and we were privileged to watch the show at The Lowry, Salford Quays.

The show is a celebration of diversity. It addresses the challenges young people face when growing up, especially when they feel that they do not ‘fit in’ with the norm. The core message of the production is that it is okay to be different. We are all different in our own way. That is what gives us our individuality and makes us unique.

We thoroughly enjoyed this very modern adaptation of The Jungle Book. The dialogues were in keeping with modern lifestyles. There were plenty of jokes with references to current trends. The quartet of langur monkeys struck a chord with their over-the-top characterisation.

Stand out for me was the use of powerful vocals to emphasise emotion.
Shere Khan’s menacing solo was resounding, while Mowgli’s struggle with his human identity was haunting. The on-stage live band added to the musical appeal of this production, especially as some members doubled up as actors and flitted seamlessly between these two roles.

The set and costume designs were visually appealing. A lot of ladders were used to create the illusion of a jungle, and it worked. Kaa the Snakes’s shimmering green skin was beautiful.

I can see why there is an age guidance of 6+. Shere Khan the Tiger was dramatic and could come across as scary to little children.

That said, The Jungle Book Live is a delightful show and makes for perfect family theatre.

Disclosure: We received complimentary tickets to watch The Jungle Book Live at The Lowry in exchange for this review post. All opinions are my own. All images are courtesy The Lowry.

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