The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling's fascinating tale about a child brought up by animals in the jungle, has entertained children and adults alike for over a century. The Jungle Book has been adapted for the screen and stage multiple times and Lane Cove Theatre Company has done a fantastic job of the same with their enthusiastic youth cast.
Jeremy and Jocelyn as Akela and Raksha the wolves; Images by Dawn Pugh
The cosy theatre space comes to life with kids chanting jungle law and the wolf pack headed by Akela and Raksha finding a man cub and pledging to take care of the 'it' like their own. The man cub is in danger of being the prey of tiger Shere Khan, so Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther teach Mowgli the jungle ways.
With a cast over 20 children (all 18 years and under); the youth cast delights the audience in many ways with their songs, dance and humour.
Charlotte Pugh as Mowgli in Lane Cove Theatre's Jungle book; Images by Dawn Pugh
Charlotte Pugh, the confident little Mowgli, was very impressive with her stage presence and dialogue delivery. The little pocket rocket that she is, she captivated the audience and stage time and again. She was often accompanied by Rod Stewart as Baloo and Madeleine as Bagheera on stage. Rod was perfectly cast as the loving old bear who doted on Mowgli and Madeleine was rather convincing as the athletic panther.
Daniel Timmins as Kaa the python; Images by Dawn Pugh
Daniel Timmins who played Kaa the snake, brought a rather comical angle to the play that was very entertaining to watch. He has perfected the python smile and I thought his acting was effortless which is a great trait to have for a budding actor.
Holly Boswell (Shere Khan) has a beautiful voice and a great stage presence. She embodied Shere Khan's demeanour perfectly well. Jeremy Lowrencev, who played the leader of the wolf pack Akela, was unmissable, not just because of his height but also the fatherly instinct he showed towards Mowgli.
I was very impressed by the 3 actors who played the monkeys Luna, Tak and Baan. No only was their makeup and outfit fitting, their monkey pranks were also hilarious. In one of the songs, they even displayed their tap dancing talent to the audience. Well done kids!
There is such a passion for art and theatre amongst the youth community today. It was a great pleasure to watch them play their part, give strong performances and enjoy their time on stage at the same time.