Think of The Jungle Book and you can’t help but hum along to The Bare Necessities.
So playwright Jessica Swale and composer Joe Stilgoe had a tough job on their hands to set this new musical adaptation apart from Disney’s 1967 classic film.
It’s a fresh, bold take on Rudyard Kipling’s collection of short stories, with plenty to say about modern life – from cultural diversity to the “perfect, modern family”– as man cub Mowgli looks to find his place in the jungle.
Twelve original songs – such as uplifting numbers Ways of The Jungle, Who I Am and Size Of The Sun – and a wealth of musical talent, including a Portuguese percussionist, keep the production vibrant throughout.
Ladders and ropes hang from the ceiling to create an urban jungle, which the agile cast negotiate with ease.
Keziah Joseph is the star of the show as Mowgli and Dyfrig Morris adds brilliant comedy as loveable rogue Baloo the bear.
Dressed in a flashy orange and black striped suit, Lloyd Gorman is more panto villain than sinister predator as Shere Khan while Deborah Oyelade brings female empowerment to the fore as Bagheera the panther.
This heart-warming, fast-paced retelling is a feast for the eyes and ears and you’ll leave the theatre humming a whole new musical score.
Runs until Saturday.