We are incredibly lucky to live near to one of the best small theatres in the UK. Many fabulous productions come to Malvern Theatres, the likes of which you wouldn’t expect to see outside of a major city. For the children, this is a brilliant opportunity to access live theatre and it has led to a love of music and drama. The latest children’s production to arrive at Malvern is The Jungle Book. We caught the first show last night and it is in Malvern until Saturday. If you get chance to go, we highly recommend it.
About the Jungle Book
If you are unfamiliar with the Jungle Book, you have probably lived under a rock since 1894. Nonetheless, the production tells the story of a little boy called Mowgli who is raised in the jungle by wolves. We were introduced to Balloo bear, a pantha called Bagheera and a python named Kaa. The ‘baddy’ takes the form of Shere Khan the tiger, but Mowgli outwits him and learns to live happily with his jungle friends.
This production doesn’t feature the classic Disney songs, as it is an original adaptation by the Children’s Touring Partnership and Royal and Derngate, Northampton. Instead, it boasts a brand new script and musical score with some new, fabulously catchy, upbeat songs.
What we thought of the new adaptation
Before we went to the theatre, I told the girls that ‘The Bear Necessities’ wouldn’t be performed and they were disappointed. They’ve been singing it in their stage performance class and had hoped to see it on stage. But as soon as the curtain went up for this new version of the Jungle Book, they were enthralled.
The props and costumes are intentionally basic. You’re not supposed to believe they are real, you just become sucked into the production. And I have to say that Baloo stole the show for me. He was such a fun character and really engaging. I also noticed that the actor playing Baloo was playing the drums during scenes he wasn’t in. A man of many talents.
This is definitely a modern take on a classic, dragging the story kicking and screaming into 2018. It is the story of ‘the perfect modern family’ – a bear and panther who adopt a boy. There was a discussion about how every family is different and it’s perfectly fine to have two dads or two mums, which I loved. The characters play musical instruments and percussion on stage, accompanying perfectly choreographed songs and dances. There are puppets, unusual costumes and a healthy dose of comedy.
Taking children to watch The Jungle Book
The show is recommended for children aged six and over. However, I took my three and five year olds. I reasoned that they’re quite used to going to the theatre, and I could take them out if they were frightened. But whilst it was loud at times and there were a few slightly frightening parts, the girls couldn’t take their eyes off the stage. They loved every minute of this new version of the Jungle Book and quite frankly, so did I.
If you’re local, tickets are available from the Malvern Theatres website with performances running until Saturday. If not, head over to the Jungle Book Live website to find out when they will be in your area. Whether you have children or not, this is a lovely, feel-good musical. It will leave you smiling and dancing along to a rather fabulous ear-worm of a song.