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Review: Jungle Book at the Bristol Old Vic

We’ve seen some pretty diverse performances at the Bristol Old Vic over the past few years including crazy bhangra dancing, a play about the horrors of war and performers who’d never met until they got on stage.

Well now street dance, hip hop and circus can be added to the list from the 215-year-old theatre that never ceases to surprise!

Jungle Book by Metta Theatre is a super modern interpretation of the classic Rudyard Kipling tale with the action set in an urban jungle of humans rather than a forest of talking animals.

Baloo is a beat-loving binman, Shere Khan is a gangster rapper and Bagheera is a graffiti artist in a story that explores ethnicity, social norms and class in 21st century multi-cultural Britain.

The dancing is out of this world.

Amid a simple set of lampposts and clever lighting the performers throw themselves around the stage and twist and turn into all sorts of crazy shapes.

Kaner Scott as Shere Khan is particularly impressive and his double jointed spectacle led to several audible gasps from the audience.

Nathalie Alison also delights as Kaa who uses incredible strength to hang horizontally from the posts without the aid of a safety net.

But the entire cast is to be applauded with the skateboard-riding wolf gang, the circus-performing Mowgli and the naughty monkeys all spectacular.

With the show aimed at everyone over eight, the theatre was jam-packed with youngsters on opening night, including our 11-year-old, who sat transfixed watching the energetic goings-on.

The entire audience got to their feet at the end and even my dad dancing didn’t seem to embarrass our little one for once such was her enjoyment!

Five out of five from Lifestyle District.

Jungle Book runs at the Bristol Old Vic until 29 July and then continues its tour around the UK until November.

Jungle Book by Metta Theatre

Photo credit: Richard Davenport

Jungle Book by Metta Theatre

Photo credit: Richard Davenport

Jungle Book by Metta Theatre

Photo credit: Richard Davenport

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