Story by Chelsea Ellard, Photos by Matt Goertz

I had an early Christmas present of attending Magnus Theatre’s opening night of The Jungle Book by Greg Banks, directed by Thom Currie. The play is an adaptation of the books by Rudyard Kipling. Although I am 12 years old, it was my first play at Magnus Theatre and as it was nothing short of amazing!

My family attended with me and everyone agreed about how magical it was. The costumes, the set, the music—wow! The play even included the audience and it made you feel like you were part of it, as if you were one of the wolves or even a monkey. Every actor portrayed their character as if was happening to them. This resulted in feeling like it was in real life. I also loved the costumes as they were so creative and fun. The set had so many great details that the overall effect made you believe that you were in the jungle with the animals.

All of the members of the cast were brilliant. The most remarkable achievement of this five-actor play, is that they played so many characters. To accomplish this, the actors had to do incredibly fast costume changes. They were so versatile in playing so many different individuals within the story that I was shocked. One of the stars of the show was Mowgli, the little boy raised by wolves, played by Michael Man. We saw as he transformed himself from a very young child to a young adult. Baloo, the big funny bear played by Jonathan Gysbers, was so funny; he kept the audience laughing throughout the play. Of special note is the agility of Georgia Lee Schultz who amazed us with her acrobatics of as the snake Kaa. I didn’t expect to see aerials from the ceiling—what a special surprise! One of my family members said that their favourite was the acting of Annie Tuma. She was so expressive it was easy to fall in love with all of her characters. Brady Vanvaerenbergh played Shere Khan with so much energy that it made the room afraid of him, but, in spite of his talent to play the villain, he played other characters that you really liked.

My favourite part of the play was the message of the story. The overall theme was about love, acceptance and the importance of family, whether it is your biological family or a family you have created. Also, that you should listen to your parents about stuff because they have experiences about things that you do not. All they want to do is keep you safe and teach you about new things.

I definitely recommend this play for everyone because it has a great meaning to it. It is funny, exciting and an entertaining play for the whole family to enjoy during this Christmas season.

Merry Christmas everyone!