In a bid to cut down on the amount of ‘stuff’ in our house, at Christmas we’d asked for things to do with the boys rather than a present. I know it’s quite a common thing for parents to do now and it works perfectly for us – we saw a brilliant panto at Christmas with their Grandparents and my Mum bought us all tickets to The Jungle Book which was on at The Playhouse in Liverpool this half term.
The boys are just getting to the right age now to actually sit through a show at the theatre and it was lovely to take them to see something different. Even though it is aimed at children it was just as enjoyable for me, in fact we’d gone in a big family group with more adults than children and all of us loved this adaptation. It’s aimed at six plus but we went with my six year old and four year old twins who happily sat through it all. The whole thing was enchanting – from the colourful costumes and puppets, to the lively music and original songs that were belted out with such passion from the cast. Even with all that, it’s truly the story line that draws you in.
It’s been adapted for the stage from the Rudyard Kipling book and is quite different from the old Disney film that most children will be familiar with. However, that didn’t put my boys off at all as they were totally transfixed. It’s quite hard to take a book from such a different time and make it relevant to us now but the writer, Jessica Swale, has done it perfectly. The usual Jungle Book characters are all in there and the story line still follows Mowgli who is simply a child in the wolf pack. The part seems to be gender neutral and is played beautifully by Keziah Joseph who stole the show for my six year old. She had the most wonderful presence on stage and I could see he was captivated by her songs. This stage version is all about being happy in your own skin, finding a place that you belong and a family you can be a part of whether they are the same as you or not – it’s full of messages about community, acceptance, respect and it tops it all off with a truly heart-warming ending.
The Playhouse is a great theatre to visit with small children as it isn’t too large or overwhelming which also means you can see the action on the stage close up. As it’s a smaller theatre the tickets are very reasonable and it’s easy to get to being right in the centre of Liverpool. During school holidays they try and put on a family show so it’s worth checking regularly to see what is coming up. We have already booked tickets for George’s Marvellous medicine at Easter and it’s something we are going to try to do more often!
The Jungle Book has finished it’s run in Liverpool but is still on tour and is coming back to the North West in May at The Lowry. It’s great fun and a real imaginative take on such a classic tale.