Adults Only (18+)

The Jungle Book, Williamson Park, Lancaster Review


Reviewed by Cath Joyce

We have seen many productions by The Dukes in the beautiful setting of Williamson Park in Lancaster over the years. The very first one we saw back in the mid 90’s was Jungle Book Stories, so it was lovely to return last night to see their new production of Rudyard Kipling’s famous story, which has been skilfully adapted by Andrew Pollard.

Williamson Park is situated on the site of a former quarry, to the east of Lancaster and with 54 acres of beautiful parkland, woodland walks and breath taking views it really is the perfect setting for the Jungle Book. With scenes by the lake, in woodland and by the magnificent Ashton Memorial, the park really lent itself to this jungle story.

Walking around the park from scene to scene really adds to the atmosphere and the Dukes’s team cope with the challenge of moving the entire audience and cast seamlessly, always having a smile on their face.

The opening scene was by the lake, over the years we have seen lots of scenes here, but last night was the first time we have been disappointed with the view, overhanging branches obscured the bridge and it was also difficult to see the action taking place in the water from where we were seated at the back. Perhaps the team could look at trimming back a few branches to improve the view of the bridge and encourage people to stand up at the back to get a better view, so they don’t miss the all important crocodile! The three other locations all offered much better views of the actors and the sound quality for all the scenes was perfect and very clear. Background jungle sounds were used to set the mood as we took our seats and careful lighting was used to draw our eyes to the action.

With a cast of only five (Helen Longworth, Jason Patel, Lisa Howard, Purvi Parmar and Pushpinder Chani) it would be unfair to pick a favourite as every single cast member was outstanding. They all played multiple roles and costume changes were amazingly fast, allowing the play to run smoothly.

As night fell and we walked back to the car, the sunset over Morecambe Bay and towards the Lake District was stunning. Looking around, I saw nothing but smiling faces and the main topic of conversation was how much they had enjoyed the show. Obviously with only four scenes over three hours Kipling’s story was somewhat abridged but this was very well done and we were treated to a night of singing and dancing with plenty of humour along the way.

Whilst suitable for all ages, the play in the park is the first theatrical experience for many children. The cast, especially Baloo, took time to involve the audience in the story by howling along with the wolf pack or explaining what had happened to Mowgli. There were also plenty of jokes for the children, especially about what bears do in the woods!

The park is well signposted from the A6 and parking was just £1.20 for the evening. The play starts at 7.15pm so we had a quick tea before we left but many families take the opportunity for a picnic in the beautiful surroundings. Seating varies at each location, sometimes there are benches or logs to sit on and in other locations the audience can sit on the ground. I would recommend taking a mat or blanket to sit on, especially when it is wet so you are not sat directly on the ground. The play continues whatever the weather, so it is worth checking the forecast before you leave and dressing appropriately. It can be quite cool towards the end of the night, so a warm coat is recommended.

So if you are looking for a fun activity to do with children then a trip to the jungle is highly recommended. There’s no other park in Lancashire where you can be entertained by a crocodile, bear, tiger, panther, snake and wolves but book quickly as some dates are already sold out.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Tickets cost £15 for children and £22.50 for adults (no transaction fee). Family discounts are available

The Jungle Book is at Williamson Park, Lancaster from Friday 22 July to Sunday 28 August, for more information or to book tickets visit or call the box office on 01524 598500

Williamson Park, Quernmore Road, Lancaster LA1 1UX

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