[THEATRE/Children’s ~ SA]
Goodwood Theatre, Fri 8 Oct, 2021.
Doctor Dolittle Jr is based on the popular musical, scaled back a little to be suitable for the younger cast of Theatre Bugs and Adelaide Theatre Academy who continue their great service to drama in SA with the training and performance that they offer.
There were two separate casts presenting three shows each in a very busy weekend (except for one cast member in both ensembles). We saw the Toggle Cast, the other is the Dab-Dab cast. Comments from my two expert reviewers – wow, especially the good Doctor himself (Bennett (sic.) as well as the major characters did a great job! The set was kept as minimal as possible (at times a desk and a couple of chairs, otherwise nothing), costume was fine for the purpose, the animal characters especially were simple, but effective and lighting and sound worked well (lots a radio mics on main characters, though there were a few times single voices were a bit low to the accompanying music, alternatively Ms 8 suggests that sometimes the ensemble voices were a bit too loud for the music – but that could be her ‘cheer’ experience, as she was evidently losing the beat!).
Sometimes, as important as going to the theatre is the after-experience, chatting with friends about the experience, the play and how it resonates. In this case, a drive home with the grandkids (who aren’t quite ready for a pleasant bar and a glass of cognac!). Ideas were – he should be called Doctor DooMore because he was so busy doing things; that a balcony on the stage might have been used for the penultimate scene of Doctor Dolittle’s return, flying in on the Giant Lunar Moth (which I thought a rather large idea from a small person); nah, the Great Glass Sea Snail wasn’t real (unlike the other animals who were real – actors with some costume and head dress); and about talking with our animals, dogs, cats, chooks and the like, including just how much of their talking is vocalisation and how much is body language and facial expression – priceless after-conversations!
Overall it was thoroughly enjoyed by the whole audience, but importantly, even by those of us whose kids, siblings or friends weren’t in the show. Frankly, the talent of some of our young folk is really quite astounding! And, like many musicals, the audience leaves with a wonderful warm feeling from the happy ending well performed and presented.
Doctor Dolittle Jr continues at The Goodwood Theatre until Sun 9 Oct.
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