Home » Reviews » Family » Review: Jungle Rumble, Fortune Theatre
Darren Hart and Sharon Ballard in Jungle Rumble
Photo credit @ Helen Maybanks

Review: Jungle Rumble, Fortune Theatre

For a children’s show, Jungle Rumble appears to tick many boxes on the surface: singing, audience participation and an obvious villain for the young audience to ‘boo’ at. Perform Productions state this show is an ‘inspirational message about working together to protect the Earth’ however, the skeletal plot line resulted in the meaningful intention being lost in all the hubbub on stage. The show’s programme was accompanied by an advertisement brochure for ‘Perform’ (a children’s drama club which Perform Productions is linked to). Jungle Rumble is an adaptation of a jungle themed drama class taught at Perform. It was…

Summary

Rating

Poor

A sales pitch in the guise of theatre.

User Rating: Be the first one !

For a children’s show, Jungle Rumble appears to tick many boxes on the surface: singing, audience participation and an obvious villain for the young audience to ‘boo’ at. Perform Productions state this show is an ‘inspirational message about working together to protect the Earth’ however, the skeletal plot line resulted in the meaningful intention being lost in all the hubbub on stage.

The show’s programme was accompanied by an advertisement brochure for ‘Perform’ (a children’s drama club which Perform Productions is linked to). Jungle Rumble is an adaptation of a jungle themed drama class taught at Perform. It was evident that many of the audience were club members as they enthusiastically sang along to the renditions. Perform, certainly, have a loyal following and perhaps relying on them to attend and be familiar with the show, is what contributed to the lack lustre storyline.

Out of all the seven actors, there were four who had distinct accents and three of those actors were black. The inconsistency of accents with the whole cast meant that those most highlighted (due to their distinctive tone) were the accents of the three black actors which were a combination of a generic (and when it came to Darren Hart who played the Cheetah; a very poor) African accent, American and West Indian. The idea was, probably, to have lots of voices to sound more multicultural and distinguish between characters, but the end result was confusing. If all the characters had an African accent that would make sense but to have it relegated to only the black actors whilst everyone else had non- West Indian/African accents, made the directorial choice more race specific than a theatrical device to suit the characters. It was also concerning how geographically inaccurate the performance was; placing animals in habitats where they are clearly not indigenous to. In isolation this may not be a big deal but it’s important to remember that this production is inspired by a theme taught at Perform. One hopes such inaccuracies and social stereotypes are not reflected in their drama classes.

The actors do the best with what they’re given and manage to engage the young audience for the majority of the show. Michael Lin gave a fun and energetic performance as ‘Boo’ the Monkey and Carole Stennett (who was hands down the standout star of the show) was brilliant as ‘Esther’ the Snake and ‘Snow’ the White Lion. If there was any reason to see Jungle Rumble it would be to see her.

Perhaps if Jungle Rumble had been written as a stand-alone piece rather than an adaptation, the show would have had more substance. Unfortunately, more time was spent on utilising the show as an advert for the drama school and the quality suffered as a result.

There are lots of wonderful events around London to take the family to see this half term, so if you’re really stuck for ideas, Jungle Rumble is an option. 

Written and Composed by: Will Barnett
Directed by: Susie McKenna
Design/Costume/Hair & Make up by: Lotte Collett
Choreography by: Frank Thompson
Sound by: Tom Marshall
Lighting by: Simisola Majekodunmi

Jungle Rumble plays at Fortune Theatre until 20 February. Further information and booking via the below link.

About Tate Miller

Want to receive weekly updates of new reviews, interviews and competitions? Then why not sign up to our newsletter and we'll keep you informed.
Holler Box