I was very lucky last night and got to sit in on the last dress rehearsal of the local production of The Jungle Book.
Both my younger nieces and my sister Jen are in the cast, and Jen got me a chance to sit in and watch instead of running the gauntlet of all the perfumes you get in the audience at a normal performance.
I felt very privileged, and the other great thing was it meant that, all alone in the seats apart from the Directors far below, I got to take a few pics without using my flash and without bothering anyone.
A dramatic scene where the wolf pack and friends all see off Shere Khan and Tabaqui the jackal. My niece Molly is the very far right wolf.
I really enjoyed the production! The set is to die for, far and away the best I've ever seen. The costumes are lovely, and the acting and singing were fantastic. Special mention to the young fellas who played Baloo and Tabaqui. Both played their parts to great effect. Shere Khan was still lacking some of his costume (last minute panics are the norm in theatre after all) and it is all down to his amazing ability and presence that he gave me the shivers even so. Here are Shere Khan and Tabaqui threatening Mowgli and his girl (whose name I can't currently remember and hopefully Jen will remind me.)
The duet of the young ladies who were Mowgli's human mum, Messua, and his love-to-be was the singing highlight of the night for me. The lad who played older Mowgli has a voice to die for too, as did mama wolf.
My sis Jen is second from right here in the orange sari, looking beautiful as usual. Molly was a wolf, and a villager. Here she is being a bully to Mowgli in green pants.
And doing a nice fall as Mowgli retaliates.
Niamh was a butterfly at the ends and a monkey in the middle of the play.
This is her on stage on the right before they started. Behind them is the just amazing tree that the set designer made. It has three levels, can be entered from front or back, and has a branch coming out the side that they could walk or swing along. As I said, best set ever!
Naughty monkeys up to no good. Niamh is back left.
Some of the kids were amazingly young, especially baby Mowgli and the wolf cubs, and all did fantastic jobs.
I really enjoyed watching them all on stage waiting for the pre-start talk. There was much excitement, colour and movement.
I used to love being a part of the theatre crowd. Seeing a rehearsal like this brought me much closer to that experience than seeing a full production. Think the many late nights in being part of one would kill me now though!
If you are a local, definitely go and see it! Tickets are selling fast but there are still some seats left as I type this. Darlington Theatre Players at Marloo Theatre.