The Jungle Book review at Unity Theatre, Liverpool – ‘simple but evocative’

Asif Majid as Mowgli in the Jungle Book at Unity Theatre. Photo: Brian Roberts Asif Majid as Mowgli in the Jungle Book at Unity Theatre. Photo: Brian Roberts
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Among the myriad of seasonal family shows that are, if we’re honest, aimed at adults, comes this little gem that is genuinely made with children in mind.

Unity Theatre’s adaptation of The Jungle Book focuses beautifully on the magic of storytelling. Before the performance begins, the cast of four actors take time to engage with the entire audience, adults and children alike, drawing us into their confidence. There is no book, they observe, the jungle is the book. And now, through a series of animal impersonations we are transported into Kipling’s world of parables.

Asif Majid is Mowgli, the man-cub who finds himself growing up among wolves and encountering all the animals of the jungle. The first act feels like familiar territory but it is after the interval that his meeting with humans seems frightening and unreal. Here we find director Nina Hajiyianni’s genius, in highlighting mankind’s inhumanity in a manner that genuinely touches everyone.

A simple but evocative set becomes alive, filled magically with imaginary animals by the actors and some delightful puppetry. The writing is beautiful, enhanced with devised work by the company who, at the close, set us gently back down in our own world.

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This magical Jungle Book is a gift to children of all ages