Children’s theatre can so often forget its audience and miss out on entertaining both adults and children, but Strung Up Theatre’s Jungle Book made no such mistake. An enchanting hour that delighted each and every audience member, it is without doubt one of the best pieces of children’s theatre I’ve seen. It was a show of circus skill but woven so fantastically through the plot you almost forgot how difficult some of the moves were, until of course you imagined yourself attempting such things. The aerial silks were used imaginatively, cutting up the space to create many different spots in the jungle and move the story along with the pace at which the cast flew through the trees as heroine Elsie and her friends embarked on their journey to find Two Tails the elephant.
The monkeys’ physicality was impressive, leaping and lurching across the stage with all the excitement and intensity that such a troop would demonstrate. Getting the physicality of such animals was also something that Strung Up had worked very hard at and succeeded in. In particular, Baloo’s larger than life plodding around had the children giggling like crazy and even the parents laughing at his intelligent slapstick nature.
What starts as a simple trumpet develops a soundtrack to the piece that works with both a modern sound and simple instruments, and continued the magical nature of what we were watching. The Rules of the Jungle song in particular enthralled all the children in the audience, who were busy looking around at their parents willing them to be able to jump up, join in and sing along.
The script itself gave an imaginative and modern take on a story that most know. The language was engaging and sharp, keeping us entranced for the whole performance. The show’s title ‘Cobwebs and Moontalk’, a particularly beautiful phrase, really encapsulates all that this piece has to offer. Ka’s ending was again another excellent piece of staging with a clever use of puppetry linking itself to the set.
Strung Up Theatre has created an enchanting hour of theatre, which takes you deep into the jungle and happily out the other side. Not only is this a play for children and their parents in tow, but anyone who enjoys the magical nature of storytelling.
The Jungle Book is playing at C South until August 21.