On Thursday night it was the official opening of the new UK tour of Dr Dolittle the Musical, with a wonderful Gala night at the Churchill Theatre. The whole atmosphere was buzzing prior to the curtain rising!
Dr Dolittle is Based on the book and the 1967 film it tells the story of a man who is passionate about animals, and the assistance of his parrot Polynesia, he learns how to talk to the animals. When he receives a call for help to save the great Pink Sea Snail, Dr Dolittle along with this friends start to raise the funds for the trip and with a Pushmi-Pullyu they succeed! Though when they arrive, things don’t turn out how they expected!Although the story it self is quite simple, the thing about this musical is how its been told than the story itself. From the very start you can’t help but be blown away by the puppetry throughout to the show. In all range of sizes and breeds, they are controlled excellently by all the cast that get lost as your focus remains on the puppets you really feel the animal is there on stage. I particularly loved Jip and Chee Chee the Chimpanzee. You just couldn’t keep your eyes off them throughout and when they weren’t on stage, you missed them!
I also loved the style of the set created by set and costume designer Tom Piper, being that the musical is based on the children’s book Tom transforms that onto the stage in the style of colour pencil drawings and hard back books. It was a really imaginative look into the world of Dolittle, which suited the story perfectly!
Now it wasn’t all animals on the stage and the cast tonight were on top form for their gala night:
Dr Dolittle – Mark Wiliams
triPolynesia – Vicky Entwistle
Lady Bellowes/Poison Arrow – Adele Anderson
Albert Blossom/Straight Arrow – Brian Capron
Emma Fairfax – Mollie Melia-Redgrave
Matthew Mugg – Patrick Sullivan
Olga Blossom – Catherine Hannay
Tommy Stubbins – Elliot Morris
Ensemble/Animals – Femi Akinfolarin, Erica-Jayne Alden, Joel Baylis, Evonnee Bentley-Holder, Jane Crawshaw, Emily Essery, Jacob Fisher, George Hankers, Catherine Hannay, Evan James, Leon Kay, Emma Lloyd, Ross Meagrow, Tom Norman, Emily Ann Potter, Ellie Seaton, Richard Vorster.
Mark Willams takes in the lead role of Dr Dolittle, being his first musical to perform in he was a perfect fit for the role. His amazing comic timing worked well for the brilliant one liners, you could see how much more comfortable he was with the animals than that of the humans. Having loved him in his past roles on the screen, it was great to witness his talent live! I hope that this isn’t the last productions he decides to take on!
Along with Mark was a further great leading cast, Vicky Entwistle known for her role of Janice in Corrie takes on not only singing and acting but puppetry as the of Polynesia, Dr Dolittles sidekick pet Parrot. She had the perfect voice to suit the role displaying her acting and puppteering greatly! The romance of the night was from that of Emma Fairfax and Matthew Mugg played by Mollie Melia-Redgrave and Patrick Sullivan, their relationship on stage was greatly portrayed and voices suited on another, ‘After Today’ was a personal musical highlight that showed of their abilities truly!
What I am loving so much about this year is that there is so many perfect musicals that are perfect to welcome the youth, this one being a longer production than some with the magic brought to life on stage the kids will be mesmerized by the animals from start to finish! But there is also lots for the parents – with a few adult jokes thrown in that only we would pick up! Its a perfect family night out and I will highly recommend to all! You really wish you could talk to the animals! Brian Capron, as not one role but two Albert Blossom and Straight Arrow took to the stage like a natural in both parts. Clearly showing two different personalities for each role!