Theatre review: The Jungle Book, West Yorkshire Playhouse

A scene from The Jungle Book
A scene from The Jungle Book
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The main stage of the Playhouse, the Quarry Theatre, is a beast that devours any director not confident enough to grasp it without fear.

Liam Steel’s production of The Jungle Book tames the beast by smothering it with a stunning set that reaches from wing to wing and even out into the auditorium.

However, even when a production gets the set absolutely right, it still needs to put performances on the stage that have heart and soul and a story that is going to take you on a journey.

This production of The Jungle Book falls sadly short of achieving that.

Based on the stories of Rudyard Kipling, this is a far darker and much more moralistic telling of the tales than that put on the silver screen by Disney in 1967. A boy raised by a pack of wolves: it’s a great idea.

Here the story of how Mowgli comes to be protected by Raksha the she-wolf sets out its stall pretty quickly. Unfortunately in the telling of the story there appears to be a lack of coherence.

The problem is that there are flashes of good performances and use of the great set, but they do not add up to a coherently enjoyable piece of work.

To Jan 18. 0113 2137700, www.wyp.org.uk

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