The mythical tales of Doctor Dolittle has been watched on screen and stage for many years. Written by Hugh Lofting, over 100yrs ago and depicting talking animals who communicate with humans, Doctor Dolittle realises over time that he is able to understand them and therefore changes from being a medical doctor to an animal doctor and dedicates his life to the welfare of all animals.
The production company (The Tethered Wits) performed a short animated play based on the story of Doctor Dolittle and his relationship with the animals as part of their Theatre in the Garden tour. This story includes a plot where the animals help him uncover an injustice and solve a dispute between a brother and sister of the neighbouring manor. This is a simple but enchanting story which draws you in with their dialogue, music and dance you cannot help but smile throughout as they engage with the audience and create a magical sixty minutes for the children. With a company of five the actors confidently perform many parts inclusive of the voices of the animals transitioning swiftly from scene to scene.
Directed by Emma Hodgkinson and music by Ashok Gupta; the cast comprising of Rory Dulku as Doctor Dolittle, Olivia Willis Annie sister/ Polynesia the Parrot. Amelia Stanimeros Chee Chee the Monkey/ Sarah wife of Doctor Dolittle and the police woman; provided an eloquent contrast of performance alongside the assertiveness of Deakin Van Leeuwen Jip the Dog/Sidney the brother and Oliver Stockley Gub Gub the Pig/Mouse/Horace the Horse and Pig’s rendition of I dreamed a dream, was a hit with the adult members of the audience.
The Tethered Wits formed in 2019 and founded by two Durham university graduates, create classics short plays to attract young people into theatre. Outdoor garden productions can be challenged by the weather however this did not deter the actors or the audience as this was a delightful performance, of skilful puppetry and acting improvisation to create an hour of family orientated fun with a selfless serious sentiment of raising funds for the Gloucester Oncology Childrens’ Cancer Charity.
Reviewer: Michelle Knight
Reviewed: 24th August 2023
North West End UK Rating: