Review: The Jungle Book, Derby Theatre

Picture by Robert Day

The Jungle Book is a superb example of Derby Theatre’s ability to create shows that appeal to children and adults alike.

This spectacular adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s stories boasts a brand new script by award-winning playwright Neil Duffield, a musical score with fabulously catchy songs from Ivan Stott and a gorgeous set by Ali Allen.

Director Sarah Brigham and her team love a challenge, so this production is also their first with British Sign Language integrated into its heart.

With its central themes of belonging, respecting difference and celebrating individuality, there couldn’t have been a more fitting show to choose for this ambitious project.

With a lot of hard work and boundless enthusiasm the talented team of creatives and actors gave us a captivating show and their reward must have been the joy they could see in the faces of the audience.

Many parents may have worried that their child would be disappointed at the lack of their favourite Disney tunes, but they needn’t have, for as  soon as the action started everyone was enthralled.

A favourite with the young audience was the cuddly bear Baloo given a lovable, dotty old uncle character by Ivan Stott.

Esme Sears, who is fast becoming a Derby Theatre favourite, was exquisite as Bagheera and her rapport with the elfin, super-lithe Iniki Mariano, who played Mowgli magnificently, was enchanting. Their gymnastic moves around the jungle setting seemed almost effortless.

The addition of a community company brought a great deal of energy to the stage and, if the Green Team members who were on last night are anything to go by, the theatre has a few budding stars of the future in its ranks.

Jungle Book a bold show with a big heart and everyone should see it this Easter. It is on until April 20.

For tickets go to

The rest of the cast are Becky Barry, Alexandra James, Oraine Johnson, Caroline Parker, Elliott Rennie, Emily  Rose Salter and  Dominic Rye.

The Green Team are Neve Bales, Jo-Anne Blackwood, Megan Clark, Alicia Day, Amara Iqbal, Samuel McDonagh, Daniel Moore, Grace Parker-McKoy, Ava Spare and Bradley Walker.

The Associate Director is Emily Howlett and the lighting designer is Alastair West.