The entertainment was visual as well as musical and dramatic. The backcloth to the open stage in Caldbeck Parish Hall was a leafy jungle painted by Rebecca Brockbank assisted by Lily Culham and the stage was draped with fresh greenery kindly supplied by many local residents. The costume team had laboured long and hard to produce a remarkable collection of animal outfits. Barbara Mitchell and her colleagues then applied the finishing touches with make up and face paints to transform the cast into creatures of the jungle.
The Jungle Book is based on the stories by Rudyard Kipling as adapted by Disney. Mowgli the Man Cub (Cameron Wilson) had been brought up by wolves but was now in danger from Shere Khan the Tiger. The calm and sensible Bagheera the Panther (Hannah Stobart) realised she needed to leave the jungle and go to the man village but the exuberant and boisterous Baloo the Bear (Matthew Horne)
wanted to keep him in the jungle – but failed when Mowgli sighted Shanti the Girl (Katherine Lewin) who drew him away with her alluring singing and a dropped water pot.
Meanwhile several jungle creatures had appeared. Kaa the Snake (Carol Hine) with her eight coils curling and slithering on and off the stage. Colonel Hathi (the Elephant)(Frank Cosgrove) with his brigade of elephants including his long suffering wife Winifred (Mandy Jackson) and often forgotten son (Robert Lewin). King Louis, King of the Monkeys (also Frank Cosgrove) with his lively band of monkeys. And Shere Khan the Tiger (Michael Bauer) full of cunning and menace as he stalked Mowgli but then reduced after being attacked to mewing like a frightened cat.
The monkey troupe (Lauren Bates, Emily Bauer, Felix Bauer, Arran Horne, Charlie Hudson, Martha Hudson, Jonny Trotter, Bob Watson and Emily Watson) clambered up and down the leafy bridge at the side of the stage and scampered as monkeys do.
The elephant brigade (Emma Glendinning, Abbie Kennedy, Katherine Lewin, Holly Macfadzean and Lucy Urey with Robert Lewin as the Colonel’s son) dutifully marched and stampeded behind Colonel Hathi and Winifred.
The coils of the snake behind Carol Hine and Sarah Atkinson (Caitlin Brownrigg, Ella Horne, Lucy Jones, Aimee Lillington, Bethan Richardson , Megan Steadman and Lauren Woodham) hissed, wriggled and slithered. The coils also doubled as jungle flowers.
The four vultures Joseph Horne, Sophie Bauer, Andrew Ward and Helena Watson) cackled and flapped their wings.
Lorraine Gash again ably accompanied and inspired the cast from the keyboard.
The thirty five cast members of all ages were well supported by the many involved in production, choreography, props, costumes, make up, set construction and design and lighting. At the end of the show the audience joined in singing with the cast The Bare Necessities and I Wanna Be Like You.
The next production will be on 18, 19 and 20 March. There will be a preliminary meeting in January 2014. Any members of the audience or anyone else who would like to be involved in future productions either on or off the stage should please get in touch with the Secretary Pauline Woolfenden (Tel 016874 78212)