Reviewed by Catherine Brown
Derby Theatre have created a unique production of ‘The Jungle Book’ which allows the deaf community to fully appreciate everything the engaging story has to offer. Adapted by Neil Duffield and directed by Sarah Brigham, everything about the show allows both the hearing and deaf audience to enjoy the theatre experience to its maximum effect.
Based on the novel by Rudyard Kipling, and also presented by Disney in animation and film, this stage version retains the key elements of the story while adding in brand new songs. Mowgli (Iniki Mariano) the man cub is found in the jungle and adopted by the wolf pack, who protect him from the ferocious tiger Shere Khan (Elliott Rennie). With the help of bumbling Baloo the bear and wise Bagheera the panther, Mowgli is taught the laws of the jungle. He needs to use this knowledge when tricked by the monkeys and attacked by the Queen of the cobras. Mowgli realises that only by finding out how to make the ‘red flower’ can he help the pack he grew up with from the dangers of Shere Khan.
What makes this version of the play special is the involvement with the deaf community. ‘The Jungle Book’ is performed in such a way that all the lines are also delivered by the cast using British Sign Language and supported by captioning above the stage. The talented cast also contribute to the musical element with many members playing instruments such as the ukele, flute and guitar to accompany the songs. Particular praise should go to Ivan Stott (Baloo) and Dominic Rye (Sergeant major) who both did an excellent job delivering humorous quips at just the right time.
Derby Theatre, previously Derby Playhouse, re-opened in 2009 under the ownership of Derby University. It has a 535 seat auditorium with comfy seats and excellent views of the stage wherever you sit. Located just off the city ring road, parking is available at the INTU shopping centre with a bargain evening rate of £2.50. The staff at the theatre were very welcoming and there were a good selection of drinks and snacks available at the bar.
I would give the show a 5/5 rating – Derby Theatre Productions put on a wonderful performance and I look forward to seeing more of their future work.
Tickets cost from £10 (booking fees may apply).
The Jungle Book is at Derby Theatre from 5-20 April 2019, for more information or book tickets visit www.derbytheatre.co.uk or call the box office on 01332 593939.
Derby Theatre, 15 Theatre Walk, St Peter’s Quarter, Derby, DE1 2NF | 01332 593939