The Dukes Theatre's Jungle Book in Williamson Park, Lancaster - review

Jungle Book in Williamson Park, Lancaster

Jungle Book in Williamson Park, Lancaster - Credit: Gabi Dawkins/Jess Turton

The annual Dukes Theatre play in the park is a joy from start to emotional finish. From the moment the baby Mowgli is discovered floating alone along the river in a basket, the laughs – and the dangers – come thick and fast 

The head-strong boy is brought up by wolves but is acutely aware he is different and his adventures lead him to confrontations with the jungle’s most fearsome characters – the tiger, Shere Khan and Kaa the snake – as well as some mischievous Brummie monkeys.

Jason Patel as the headstrong Mowgli and his wolf mother, Akela, played by Purvi Parma

Jason Patel as the headstrong Mowgli and his wolf mother, Akela, played by Purvi Parma - Credit: Gabi Dawkins/Jess Turton

The action takes place at four spots around Williamson Park and makes the most of the locations to bring audiences close to the non-stop action. 

There’s a lot of panto-style fun, plenty of audience participation and a set of songs you’ll be singing all the way home.

The mischievous Midlands monkeys

The mischievous Midlands monkeys - Credit: Gabi Dawkins/Jess Turton

A cast of five bring the jungle to life with lively, energetic performances that will delight all ages – on the night we visited there were pre-schoolers, pensioners and everyone in-between, and almost all of them joined in with the wolf howls. 

Jason Patel, who has previously appeared in Peter Pan at the Dukes, is Mowgli; Pushpinder Chani plays Bagheera the panther; Lisa Howard is Shere Khan; Purvi Parma plays Akela, the leader of the wolf pack and Helen Longworth – an established favourite among Dukes crowds – is the charming and lovable Baloo.

Helen Longworth as the lovable Baloo

Helen Longworth as the lovable Baloo - Credit: Gabi Dawkins/Jess Turton

The costumes are clever, the sound effects are spot on and however well you know Kipling’s original story, this is an exceedingly good adaptation by Andrew Pollard, with direction by Sarah Punshon.


Lisa Howard as the menacing Shere Khan

Lisa Howard as the menacing Shere Khan - Credit: Gabi Dawkins/Jess Turton

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The Dukes pioneered this style of promenade theatre, with the first performance in 1987, and it remains one the best there is.  

  • Jungle Book is at Williamson Park, Lancaster from Tuesdays-Sundays at 7.15pm until August 28. Tickets are available from dukeslancaster.org and 01524 598500. 

    Jason Patel is Mowgli, and one of the wolves 

    Jason Patel is Mowgli, and one of the wolves - Credit: Gabi Dawkins/Jess Turton