REVIEW: 101 DALMATIANS (Open Air Theatre)

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Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s 101 Dalmatians is a brand new musical with music and lyrics by Douglas Hodge and a e-book by Johnny McKnight. Based mostly on the 1956 e-book The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith, the musical brings to life beloved characters Pongo, Perdi, all these puppies and naturally the dastardly Cruella du Vil!

Set and performed in Regents Park, the musical revolves round notorious influencer Cruella de Vil (performed by Kate Fleetwood) as units her sights on a brand new Dalmatian fur coat to put on to an upcoming ball. Not affiliated with Disney, this manufacturing is ready modern-day, with popular culture references, actor-musos weaving their means out and in of the story, cleverly designed puppetry and music that can have you ever clapping alongside by the top.

As an ensemble, the solid work nicely to ship an fulfilling manufacturing. Taking part in a number of characters all through with puppets and a wide range of black and white costume modifications, they actually work laborious and it’s not lengthy earlier than you’re drawn into the story. It’s clear a variety of thought has been put into Timothy Sheader’s course, Colin Richmond set design and Toby Olié’s puppets as the general impact is considered one of whimsy and enjoyable. That being stated, the manufacturing appears inconsistent and confused with its e-book, remedy of characters, model and music. Whereas Kate Fleetwood does an impressive job with the de Vil materials and has some spine-tingling vocal moments, her de Vil is given an Essex accent when speaking however then drops it when she sings, she spends the primary act speaking about how she needs to pores and skin puppies alive however then has a ballad the place the viewers is inspired to stress along with her. Because the present progresses and the puppies go lacking, Pongo and Perdi race throughout London to seek out them, nevertheless when the runt of the litter will get sick and is near freezing to dying, Pongo decides he’s had sufficient and tells Perdi to go away the infant. Whereas this offers Emma Lucia’s Perdi a touching ballad, it’s overshadowed by a father keen to rapidly depart considered one of his pups behind. Not all musicals want memorable songs and I feel with some extra work and a brand new e-book restoring the supply materials, this 101 Dalmatians may actually be one thing particular.

There’s actually nothing fairly just like the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, seeing a present because the solar goes down is magical. This manufacturing of 101 Dalmatians is clearly geared toward kids, with it’s well-known Disney+ watchable story, some catchy songs and imaginative puppetry. General an fulfilling present and I simply hope it has life outdoors this manufacturing and is ready to discover it’s… paws.

Reviewed by Stuart James


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