ONE of the best loved children’s stories will be told on stage in Malvern this week.

Rudyard Kipling’s family classic, The Jungle Book, has been newly adapted by the Children’s Touring Partnership and Royal and Derngate Theatre, Northampton, and swings into the Festival Theatre from tomorrow night (Tuesday) through to Saturday.

Originally written in 1894, Kipling’s beloved tale has been reimagined with a brand new score and script, exploring the universal themes of family, belonging and identity.

The tale tells of Mowgli the man cub who battles for survival in this heart-warming coming-of-age story about a boy raised by wolves in the jungle.

With the help of his animal friends, including Bagheera the panther, Balloo the bear and Kaa the python, Mowgli outwits the cruel and powerful tiger, Shere Khan, and learns the law of the jungle.

The cast includes Rachel Dawson as ‘Kaa Grey’, Lloyd Gorman as ‘Shere Khan’, TJ Holmes as  ‘Hiran’, Avita Jay as ‘Raksha’, Keziah Joseph as ‘Mowgli’, Dyfrig Morris as ‘Balloo’, Deborah Oyelade as ‘Bagheera’ and Tripti Tripuraneni as ‘Akala’.

The award winning creative team bringing Kipling’s timeless story to the stage includes playwright Jessica Swale, director Max Webster and internationally renowned songwriter Joe Stilgoe.

Writer Jessica Swale said “I jumped at the chance to adapt Kipling’s classic story because it's such a vivid world - yet, for a writer, there's so much opportunity to imagine the jungle afresh.

“Part of the book's enduring appeal is that the jungle can be anything we choose. It's a playground, a school, a hideaway, an adventure, so I've enjoyed exploring what sort of place this mysterious, delightful, sometimes scary place might be- and what better way to do that than with Max Webster, one of the most inventive and imaginative directors working today.

‘I loved the characters as Kipling wrote them, but wanted to find new voices which resonate now - funny, bright, dynamic voices, with a little more wit, and greater diversity, in terms of place, tone, gender and culture. It's a funny, heart-filled roller coaster of a journey which, I hope, will transport the audience right round the world and back again”.

Director, Max Webster, said “The book was an instant classic when it was written over a hundred years ago with its story of Mowgli finding his path through the jungle. Each generation has re imagined this story as their own, and now Jess Swale brings it right up to date in a hilarious and action-packed version for the twenty first century.

“With wonderful songs by the jazz legend Joe Stilgoe, and packed with adventure, humour and magic this classic tale will tickle the tales of all the family. I am delighted to be working alongside Jessica, Joe, Children’s Touring Partnership and Royal & Derngate to bring this vivid adaptation to the stage”. 

The Jungle Book, which is suitable for all ages from six upwards, is at Malvern Theatres from tomorrow Tuesday, March 13 to Saturday, March 17.