Dr Doolittle JR

Date 22nd February 2020
Society Stage One 2000 Musical Youth Theatre
Venue Harrison Hall
Type of Production Musical
Director Brenda Davies
Musical Director Sian James
Choreographer Ali Bentley-Jones
Producer Brenda Davies

Report

Author: Joanne Rymer

Dr Doolittle JR.

Stage One 2000

22/2/2020

At the Stage One 2000 show you are immediately exposed to true community theatre - what an amazingly friendly atmosphere, I recommend everyone to visit this uniquely friendly society. Right from the off the stage sparkled with energy and jollity, as the young cast belted out ‘The world of Dr Doolittle’, I could see huge grins on all their faces. The strength of the talent within this society is remarkable, the young actors dancers and singers are totally committed to their individual roles.  The delivery of  the songs,  ‘My friend the Doctor ’,  ‘Talk to the Animals’  and ‘Time of our Lives’ were wonderfully delivered by Doolittle, Maddie, Tommy , Polynesia and the chorus of course. Congratulations must go to the choreographer Allison- Bentley- Jones, musical director Sian Jones for their support and encouragement to get the very best from this talented young cast.

We are introduced to Doctor Doolittle (Euan Parkes), who was very much in command of the role, by his friends Maddie (Niamh Haslem) and Tommy (Sam Darker) who tell us he is loved by everybody, especially the animals.  After a mishap over the medication for General Bellows (Callum Makin) Doolittle decides he prefers looking after animals. He consults sidekick Polynesia the Parrot (Libbie Bentley-Jones) to teach him how to talk to the animals. Polynesia speaks 500 languages and is delighted to support Doolittle.  His clinic is home to Chee-Chee the Monkey (Alfie Greer), Eric the Cat (James Harris), not forgetting Herbert the Hedgehog (Chrisell Kenyon) Dab-Dab Duck (Emma Coates) Dib-Dib Duck (Lacey Walker) and Toggle the horse (Freya Hooper), Sheila the Fox (Sophie Roberts) and Sylvia the Fox (Sophie Brown). Doolittle not only talks, but he insists that we all listen to the animals.

Doolittle wishes to go in search of the Giant Pink Sea Snail, but needs to raise funds for the trip. Doolittle is visited by Emma Fairfax, the Generals niece, who wishes to support him, however the meeting does not go well. Emma is played very sensitively by Mollie Blease, lovely singing voice good performance here.  A huge packing case arrives for Doolittle, it’s from a friend Straight Arrow.  The Pushmi-Pullyu makes its ceremonious entrance, Scarlet and Ruby Dilworth, lovely performance from two very talented young people.  The Circus is in town, so Doolittle introduces ringmaster Albert Blossom (Maisie Foulkes) to the unique opportunities the Pushmi-Pullyu can offer the circus. Convinced by his wife Gertie Blossom (Annie Green) a deal is agreed. A lovely performance from Maisie Foulkes as Albert Blossom whose delivery of ‘Never Seen Anything Like It’ joined by Doolittle together with circus acts Berta (Lola Bradley), Vladimir (Rachel Murray) Mavis (Lily Criddle), plus the full chorus was spectacular.

Looking at the list of the Production Team in the programme makes you realise just how many people it takes behind the scenes to put on a show like this. Director Brenda Davies obviously had a clear picture of what she wanted for this production and put the correct team around her. The scenery, lighting (Derek Boseley), sound (Daniel McAllister) was perfect and the scene changes spot on great work from stage manager Richard Lee assisted by Clinton Ball and Scarlet Hale-Withers. Congratulations must go to the wardrobe for the stunning costumes. Well done Jenny King and Jules Bradley, they were stunning. A mention too for the support from the parents for the children’s costumes truly wonderful.

As lights come up on the Puddleby Courtroom were Doolittle is supported by friend Emma Fairfax. General Bellows instructs the Bailiff (Thomas Brown) accompanied in court by Rufus the Dog (Freya Eves) to read aloud the charge against Doolittle. He is accused of the murder of an unknown woman by throwing her off a cliff into the Bristol Channel. Dolittle proclaims it is a misunderstanding and that the woman is actually a seal named Sophie (Amelia Carter), who he has promised to reunite with her husband at the North Pole. His act of kindness finds Doolittle not only guilty of murder, but sent to an asylum. A lovely scene, well done to everyone.

After earning the money he needs the Eccentric Doctor Dolittle embarks on an extraordinary adventure to find the Giant Pink Sea Snail that holds the secret of life and makes the world a happier place. Having escaped from the authorities, Doolittle ‘borrows’ a boat and sets off. Helped by his human companions, Maddie, Tommy and an exotic menagerie of animal friends, including the Pushmi-Pullyu and trusty sidekick Polynesia the parrot ‘Like Animals’.  Emma Fairfax sneaks on board and agrees to support Doolittle in his quest.  ‘Fabulous Places’ lovely solo delivery from Mollie Blease, stunning singing voice, joined by the full cast his is to me was a highlight of the show. The ship is hit by a fearsome storm, shipwrecked on Seastar Island they discover Straight Arrow (Olivia Merrell) who runs an animal sanctuary, good comic performance from Olivia, (straight to Harrow) excellent. Great scene this, ‘Save the Animals’ sung by Straight Arrow and the full cast.

 Doolittle’s dreams come true when we confronts the Great Pink Sea Snail, he arranges the passage home for his fellow companions, who climb into the shell and depart the island. Doolittle chooses not to return home and stays with Straight Arrow.

When I first walked into the auditorium I was greeted by a women wearing a set of cat’s ears and a tail, it was Sian James the musical director that set the tone for the evening beautifully.  Sian together with Trish Gaskell, Stuart Gaskell, Andrew Hutchinson and Lynsey Blair, a small but extremely talented group.

The travellers return home on the Giant Pink Sea Snail and Emma talks sense into her uncle regarding Doolittle’s wrongful conviction. She sings ‘Voice of Protest’ accompanied by the whole cast. General Bellowes grants amnesty to Doolittle and declares him completely innocent of all wrongdoing. The cheers of the crowd are only interrupted by the return of Doolittle himself.

‘World of Dr Doolittle’ is the finale of this incredibly entertaining musical. The whole evening was a delight and I am looking forward to Shrek the Musical.

Thank you so much for inviting me.

Joanne Rymer

NODA