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THE JUNGLE BOOK (article first published : 2007-06-3; last edited : 2008-09-7)

Following the success of last year’s hugely popular July holiday production of Winnie-the-Pooh, KickstArt is staging an even bigger, more elaborate stage version of the classic children’s novel, The Jungle Book in the Playhouse Opera from June 29.

The Jungle Book follows hot on the heels of the company’s first production of the year – Athol Fugard’s seminal Road to Mecca - which is currently on at the Seabrooke’s Theatre at DHS.

Adapted by Steven Stead from the book by Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book promises to be a theatrical feast for young and old. Ten of Durban’s best actors are joined by a team of 15 talented children and several magnificent, life-size puppets. Together they bring the fascinating stories of the jungle boy, Mowgli, to vivid life on a revolving jungle set covered with lush vines and exotic flowers designed by Greg King.

The atmospheric lighting will be created by successful New York-based designer, Farley Whitfield, who is returning to South Africa for the first time in 15 years especially for this project.

The elaborate costumes are by Peter Court while original music is created by Evan Roberts. Steven Stead, responsible for directing The Playhouse’s recent sell-out production of My Fair Lady, will also direct The Jungle Book.

The cast is headed by Sean de Klerk as Mowgli, the jungle boy raised by wolves. His animal mentors are played by much-loved local actors: Darren King as Bagheera, the black panther, Rowan Bartlett as Baloo the amiable bear, and Anthony Stonier as Kaa, the wily python. Together, the four friends struggle to thwart the evil scheming of Mowgli’s arch-enemy, Shere Khan, the tiger, played with relish by Peter Court.

Others in the cast include Jailoshini Naidoo as Mother Wolf, Michael Gritten as the Monkey King, Iain Robinson as Akela the wolf leader, Marc Kay as Riki-tiki-tavi the mischievous mongoose and Belinda Henwood as treacherous Tabaqui, the jackal.

The Jungle Book runs in the Playhouse Opera Theatre from June 29 to July 15. Tickets R80 (R60 children under 12 years) booked at Computicket. Performances Tuesday to Saturday at 14h30 (Sundays at 16h00 and Fridays at 19h00). There is one extra Saturday evening performance on June 30 at 19h00.

Please note: This production is not suitable for children under four years of age.

There is no discount for pensioners or students on advance booked tickets, but on presentation of the appropriate ID at the box-office on the day of the performance, concession seats of R60 each may be purchased for cash only.




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