Is pantomine just for Christmas?  Oh no it isn’t!

Although I have to admit that when the two eldest minis and I were guests of the New Theatre Royal for last night’s evening performance of its current production, The Jungle Book, it was the first time we’d been in the audience for such a show during springtime.

Photo: Stuart Glover

The Clasketgate venue is well versed in staging Easter pantomimes however, even allowing for a two year hiatus thanks to Covid, and we were well rewarded for giving it a try.

As we sat waiting for panther Bagheera to start leading us through the tale of the man-cub Mowgli, the set was already making a strong impression, as it continued to do throughout the two-hour show further enhanced by its revolving platform and the show’s inventive staging, lighting effects, puppetry and Kaa’s fluorescent tail stretching all the way to one of the Circle’s boxes.

The story of the strength of adoptive family bonds, finding your own role and the power of working together is perfect for school holiday audiences.

Photo: Stuart Glover

And its high-energy dance routines, ample opportunity for audience interaction (who doesn’t love a good howl?) and enough lion jokes to leave you roaring put a smile on our faces as we bopped in our seats to an eclectic range of music from Guns N’ Roses to Harry Belafonte and House of Pain to Miley Cyrus to MC Hammer, with musical jokes leaving me the opportunity to introduce the minis to the Village People and Saturday Night Fever this weekend.

Photo: Stuart Glover

As soon as the finale’s song was sung, after the fate of wolf Raksha and tiger Shere Khan sealed this show’s dog versus cat contest, my seven year old immediately said she wanted to watch it all again declaring Mowgli her favourite character and that, other than the dramatic final scenes, seeing the wolf cubs partying was her favourite part of the show.

If your man-cubs need entertaining this Easter then you can book tickets for The Jungle Book by calling the box office on 01522 519999 or visiting the New Theatre Royal’s website.  The show is running until Saturday, April 16th and there is a relaxed performance on Thursday, April 14th, at 2.30pm.  Tickets are £20.50 (adults), £18.50 (over 65s), £13 (child), £59 (family – max. 2 adults).