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REVIEW: The Enormous Crocodile


I have always had a soft spot for Roald Dahl’s book for younger readers. The horrid, greedy enormous crocodile is a wonderful comic villain but he is not as mean as the characters in Dahl’s older books and the whole read is less dark.

 

The musical version currently playing at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park captures the spirit of the story perfectly. Malinda Parris’ croc is a vain, self-important fool who gets his come-uppance but we can still revel in his ‘secret plans and clever tricks’, not least thanks to Parris’ strong voice and the catchy tunes. The other animals in the simple river and jungle set are uniformly excellent, each developing their own characters, so the underlying message, ‘we must be brave and we can save the day’, has individual resonance. The Roly-Poly bird wins on costume and a big shout out to Nuwan Hugh Perera for a charmingly anxious Humpy-Rumpy. Excellent use of puppets too, both for additional wildlife and the children. There is the perfect amount of audience participation and the final scene, when the croc gets on the wrong end of Trunky’s trunk, very well done.

 

Don’t be put off by the incessant drizzle. The heavens opened on the press show but there was a standing ovation at the end of the speedy 45 minute run. Do bring a decent waterproof though. The paper programme unfolds into an A3 poster but it is inadequate rain cover. I tested it!


Roald Dahl's The Enormous Crocodile, the Musical runs at The Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park from 17 May–8 June. Tickets: £15–£25. Ages 4+.

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