THE JUNGLE BOOK, directed by Cassandra Hogan, is a fun family show that will entertain, but not frighten, young children, filled with feathery and furry creatures, some friendly, some fiendish, and of course, the lost boy raised by wolves, named Mowgli (strong portrayal by Ben Killian). Mowgli is taught “jungle law” and good character among other important things by his teachers, and by his wolf father’s example, but he also learns many other necessary life lessons through adversaries, mistakes and downright monkey business. The delightful JUNGLE TOUR preshow creatively delivers useful insights into the play’s Kipling origins, general theater information, and a couple of unabashed product plugs, along with lots of laughs; nicely done!
Nyra, who narrates parts of Mowgli’s story, is given lively presence by Pratima Agrawal, and provides a link between human and jungle worlds in addition to much laughter during her shtick with the vexatious mongoose Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, playfully portrayed by Regina Ashley. Mowgli’s teachers, Baloo, a bear, nicely brought to life by Matt Boyer, Bagheera, a panther, given fabulous physicality and expression by Maria Serino, and a python named Kaa, pleasantly depicted by Gryphon Faulkner, worked well in their scenes against Shere Khan the man-eating tiger, given an imposing presence by Christopher Sakelarides, and his jackal sidekick Tabaqui, played with excellent comedic physicality by Michael Covel. Ivy Yeager and Noah Baliles embue Mother and Father Wolf with inspiring strength of character, and Jayme Barnett did the peacock Mor proud. Among the many splendid portrayals in this play, the monkeys, played by Cassidy Butler, Layla Dagel, Ruby Faulkner, Gaia Page, Noelle Scheuerman, Helen Spigel, Abbey Witmer and Stephanie Yu, led by Queen Monkey, hilariously delivered by Samantha Dunkle, are outstanding, stealing much laughter from the audience particularly during “Monkey See, Monkey Do” number!
The set (Scott McMaster) is inviting, and welcomes imagination with its multiple levels and tiers; lighting and sound (Mike Addice) add much to the jungle aura lending depth and intrigue. Kudos for the clever and charming costumes (Victoria Henry) which also serve well in conveying the show’s wondrous cast of characters.
There is some fun for everyone in this terrific show!
THE JUNGLE BOOK
Adapted from Rudyard Kipling’s “Mowgli” stories by Vera Morris
Directed by Cassandra Hogan
February 28 – March 9, 2014
795 Ridge Road
Telford, PA 18969
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