Tag Archives: Doctor Dolittle

Review: Doctor Dolittle The Musical at The Lowry

Every year The Lowry in Salford Quays puts on a big family show. It’s not always Christmassy, but it’s always a good alternative to the traditional Panto. This year The Lowry are playing host to Doctor Dolittle The Musical and we went along to see if he really could talk to the animals.

Based on the popular 1967 film with Rex Harrison; this spectacular new stage show stars Mark Williams as the eccentric Doctor. In Doctor Dolittle, join him and his human companions and his exotic menagerie of animal friends on an extraordinary adventure to find the Giant Pink Sea Snail. With help from the Pushmi-Pullyu and his trusty sidekick Polynesia the Parrot, the good Doctor teaches us not only to talk to the animals but to listen to them as well!

Review: Doctor Dolittle The Musical at The Lowry

Fans of the original film, or the Eddie Murphy re-make will spot a few changes to the original story, but the main characters and the most favourite songs survive. In this production there is more of a focus on Doctor Dolittle’s relationship with the animals rather than him falling in love. Matthew Muggs played by Patrick Sullivan instead falls in love with Emma Fairfax (Mollie Melia-Redgrave).

The production is lush and visually striking, with a versatile paper set designed by Tom Piper. Each scene is brought to life by the animal puppets. There are 39 animal puppets and each one moves authentically and you really start to see some of them as actual animals rather than puppets, especially Jip the dog who is just wonderful. There are two giant puppets – the Giant Pink Sea Snail and the Giant Lunar Moth who are especially well done. At the end the moth flutters over the front few rows holding Doctor Dolittle in its legs, it’s very well done.

Mark Williams as Doctor Dolittle is warm and just crotchety enough. He doesn’t dominate the stage, but gives the animals the space to shine. Matthew Muggs (Patrick Sullivan) is a charming, engaging everyman, whilst Mollie Melia-Redgrave as Emma Fairfax is by far the strongest vocalist in the show and leads us through a procession of songs.

Little Tommy Stubbins; the boy who escapes from the orphanage to go on a grand adventure with Doctor Dolittle; is ably and enthusiastically played by six young boys. I think Thomas Ryan played Tommy on the night we attended and he is someone to watch out for in the future.

Vicky Entwistle voices and is the co-puppeteer for Polynesia the parrot. It’s a large part but I found myself drawn to watching Vicky instead of Polynesia, which was quite distracting. Doctor Dolittle also stars Brian Capron as both Albert Blossom and Straight Arrow. As Albert Blossom (the circus owner) he was brilliantly bawdy and it took a moment for me to recognise him. I really did enjoy the colourful circus scenes which were a real highlight.

Review: Doctor Dolittle The Musical at The Lowry

I feel I must mention the Ensemble cast, who were superb. They really helped to move the story along and were all lively, engaging and great singers and puppeteers.

The production contains 24 songs, some of which you might remember from the films (Talk to the Animals; I’ve Never Seen Anything Like It; and My Friend The Doctor). Doctor Dolittle is two and a half hours long, including a 20 minute interval; there are a couple of parts where the action really slows, which is a shame in an otherwise colourful show.

Doctor Dolittle The Musical is a joyful, colourful, all singing and dancing family show. Fans of the film would really enjoy the musical; and as Albert Blossom would say, you’ve never seen anything like it in your life!

For more information about Doctor Dolittle The Musical, and to buy tickets, visit the website.

Check out our run down of family theatre shows in the region this Christmas.

We were invited guests of The Lowry, all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Six Family Christmas Shows in Manchester

Christmas is a time for traditions and one of ours is a trip to see a Christmas show or two. In Manchester we have lots of great theatres within easy reach of our home and they always offer an exciting selection of Christmas productions. There’s something for everyone. Love panto? Go and see Sleeping Beauty. Got little ones? Go and see Stick Man at The Lowry. Below are six family Christmas shows you can see in Manchester this Christmas…

Stick Man, The Lowry 1 December – 6 January

This classic tale by Julia Donaldson is on at The Lowry from 1st December to 6th January. The story follows the Stick Man on a series of unfortunate adventures which lead him far from the comforts of home. But will he ever make it back to the family tree?

Stick Man is a modern classic and is suitable for children aged 3+. Fans of the book will enjoy this delightful adaptation where Stick Man finds himself in all kinds of perilous situations.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the website.

Five Family Christmas Shows in Manchester

Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas, Waterside Arts 4 – 31 December

Children of all ages will delight in Briggs’ grumpy but loveable Father Christmas as he gets ready for his busiest day of the year: Christmas Eve.  Watch as he prepares his Christmas deliveries, feeds his reindeer and finally takes flight into the snowy night. But things don’t run smoothly and he soon encounters soot-covered chimneys to squeeze through and treacherous weather conditions.

With plenty of live music, songs and playful puppetry, this critically acclaimed adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ much loved book is a delightful festive treat for children to enjoy. Suitable for ages 3-11 years.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the website.

Doctor Dolittle, The Lowry 11 December – 5 January

This year’s festive extravaganza at The Lowry is the hotly anticipated Doctor Dolittle. It’s based on the popular 1967 film with Rex Harrison and stars Mark Williams, Vicky Entwistle, Brian Capron and Adele Anderson.

Join the eccentric Doctor, his human companions and his exotic menagerie of animal friends on an extraordinary adventure to find the Giant Pink Sea Snail, that holds the secret of life and making the world a happier place. With help from the Pushmi-Pullyu and his trusty sidekick Polynesia the Parrot, the larger-than-life Doctor Dolittle teaches us not only to talk to the animals but to listen to them as well!

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the website.

Five Family Christmas Shows in Manchester

Little Gift, The Lowry 18 – 31 December

Ted is a lonely old soul, living all alone in the big city. One morning his life is changed forever when a mysterious helping hand steps in and disrupts his quiet routine. This playful show presents Ted’s tale with a heart-warming mix of puppetry, live music and song.

Little Gift is a brand-new story from multi award-winners M6 Theatre and Andy Manley. It’s suitable for children aged 3-7 years and it just the thing to bring a bit of light into the darkest season of the year.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the website.

Sleeping Beauty, Stockport Plaza 30th November – 6th January

What’s Christmas without a panto? Starring Ted Robbins and Claire King, Sleeping Beauty is the story of a Princess who sleeps for a lifetime in her forgotten palace after an evil curse puts her under a spell. Will her true loves kiss awaken our Sleeping Beauty or will evil triumph over good in this magical family adventure that everyone can enjoy.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the website.

Five Family Christmas Shows in Manchester

The Tin Soldier, Ordsall Hall, Salford 12th January

Toy soldiers, goblins and ballerinas… all the ingredients for a perfect family show filled with puppetry, multimedia and live music, this is a Christmas story not to be missed. Adapted from the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale and performed by Folksy Theatre.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the website.

Are you going to see any Christmas Shows? What are you going to see?