Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
Last night we went to see WICKED Productions return to the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells for another Easter production, a fantastic fun performance of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.
The Jungle Book follows the story of a baby who is found in the jungle by Bagheera, a black panther. Bagheera takes him back to the wolves to raise as a man cub and they name him Mowgli. Mowgli loves his time in the jungle and doesn’t want to leave but after he is threatened by Shere Khan, the tiger, Bagheera and his friend Baloo the bear decide to return him to the man village for his own safety.
Ant Payne makes a great job of his character Bagheera, whilst narrating throughout in rhyme and Ed Wright makes for a brilliant pantomime style villain as Shere Khan. The star of the show though is Tom Swift, as well as producing, writing and composing the production he will have you falling off your seat laughing at his character Baloo. The chemistry between Ant and Tom is clear to see and there are many hilarious scenes, most notably the boombox, when they are struggling to keep laughing themselves.
My son’s favourite scene was when they meet the snake, Kaa, in the jungle. Brilliantly well done and made to look like he was floating, Kaa had the younger members of the audience completely enthralled.
If you are expecting the Disney interpretation of Kiplings’ book, with the well-known songs such as bear necessities, you may start off being disappointed but the alternative production more than makes up for it. Pantomime style, this show is rip roaringly funny with plenty of adult jokes for the mums and dads, great characters and fresh new song and dance routines. It’s a must for any afternoon.
Running from Easter to the 2nd June there are two performances a day in many venues so check out your local theatre for tickets and prepare yourself to be entertained.
We saw this production of The Jungle Book at Tunbridge Wells Assembly Hall, where we were blessed with great views, a well-stocked café bar and plenty of parking in the adjacent multi storey car park.
Highly recommended for a great family afternoon/evening out. I recommend getting the early performance for very young children as it runs for around 2hrs 30 mins including interval. Oh and don’t sit at the front unless you enjoying being on stage!
The Jungle Book is currently on tour around the UK, for more information and tour dates click here.
For other shows at the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells visit www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk or call the box office on 01892 530613.
Assembly Hall Theatre, Crescent Rd, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1 2LU | 01892 530613