Doctor Dolittle

Reviewed by Nikki Cotter

Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

At a time when talking to the animals seems much more appealing than talking current affairs, Doctor Dolittle’s arrival at the Lowry for the festive period couldn’t be more perfectly timed.

Writer Leslie Bricusse at the rip age of 87 has reworked his original book to bring the show more up to date adding relevance to the times we’re living in and also added an additional plot twist when it comes to the classic love story element of this tale; no spoilers here though, you’ll have to buy a ticket!

From the start Tom Piper’s bold set design transports us into the pages of a book as Dolittle’s magical journey begins. Larger than life books make for the basis of each scene as the story flows from page to stage and even across the seas.

After being taught to speak ‘animal’ by his trusty sidekick Polynesia (Vicky Entwistle), Doctor Dolittle (Mark Williams) sets sail on a nautical rescue mission in a bid to find and save the Giant pink Sea Snail. There are a few minor bumps along the way with things not quite appearing as they seem but nothing our determined Doctor can’t handle.

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Mark Williams brings an enormous warmth to the Doctor and carries off the role with great charm and charisma. Vicky Entwistle gives Polynesia a delightful Northern twang and gifts our feathered friend with heaps and heaps of personality.

Mollie Melia-Redgrave is a delight as Emma Fairfax while Patrick Sullivan has a star quality magnetism which ensures their scenes together are an absolute joy.

Special mention must also go to Thom Ryan who takes on the role of young Tommy Stubbins, he shines on stage and brings a real youthful energy to proceedings.

The puppetry work here really is the star of the show with each and every scene bringing something bigger, bolder, more colourful and even more unbelievable than the last. Puppetry designer Nick Barnes really has pulled out all the stops while kudos must also go to puppetry director Jimmy Grimes and the incredibly hard-working ensemble cast who beautifully bring each fabulous creature to life; their skill as both performers and puppeteers highly impressive.

While the book has been updated and the score includes several new songs there are still occasions where the show stutters as the pace falls a little flat, some of the big numbers feeling like they need a little more oomph; luckily these dips are only temporary and before you know it another visual treat is playing out before you.

Doctor Dolittle is a charming piece of theatre with some breathtakingly magical moments while the message of protecting and learning from the animals remains strong throughout. A traditional and visually stunning production with an important message at it’s heart, delivered in an engaging and entertaining way.

Catch Doctor Dolittle at the Lowry until Saturday 5th January tickets available here.

First look Doctor Dolittle

Have you booked your tickets yet?

Be quick as you’ve never seen anything like it!

We are absolutely loving these production shots from Doctor Dolittle which opens at The Lowry next week.

The magical musical which promises festive fun for all the family will run from Tuesday 11th December until Saturday 6th January.

Starring Harry Potter star Mark Williams at the Doctor, Corrie favourites Brian Capron as both Albert Blossom and the mighty Straight Arrow, Vicky Entwistle as trusty side-kick Polynesia while Adele Anderson (Fascinating Aïda) will be playing Lady Bellowes and Poison Arrow.

The spectacular stage show follows Doctor Dolittle on his magical adventure in pursuit of the Giant Pink Sea Snail which holds the secret of life and making the world a happier place. We’ll meet marvellous humans as well as some mighty impressive animals along the way including the Pushmi-Pullyu and the Doctor’s trusty sidekick Polynesia the Parrot. The show promises to be a thrilling Christmas treat for young and old.

Tickets are available now and can be found here.

Interview | Doctor Dolittle’s Brian Capron

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Doctor Dolittle returns to the stage this Christmas in Leslie Bricusse’s acclaimed family musical which opens at the Lowry on Tuesday 11th December.

Based on the much loved 1967 film with Rex Harrison, Leslie Bricusse’s family favourite promises fun for all as eccentric Doctor (Mark Williams) takes us on a magical adventure in his quest to find the Giant Pink Sea Shell which holds the secret of life and making the world a happier place.

Not only will we meet the Pushmi-Pullyu and the Doctor’s trusty sidekick Polynesia the Parrot but we’ll also meet many wonderful human companions along the way. Here at Opening Night we were lucky enough to catch up with one of the talented humans taking to the stage this festive season in the form of Brian Capron.

Coronation Street legend and much admired theatre actor Brian give us the inside info on what we can expect from this Christmas spectacular.

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Opening Night: This production sounds absolutely spectacular, especially the puppets.

BC: It’s going to be wonderful, so much thought and planning has gone into this production. The planning alone for the puppets has been incredible. It almost doesn’t feel right saying puppets as they are so lifelike, they’re such characters which their own individual personalities.

ON: Are you looking forward to performing with the puppets?

BC: Absolutely, I have a number with the Pushmi-Pullyu, which is a double headed llama & when I first saw the puppet it wasn’t quite finished but even then I could tell just how impressive it was going to be, it was already taller than me! It’s absolutely huge and has a performer in either end. It will be performing a dance in the middle of the number, Never Seen Anything Like It, which will be just magical.

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ON: It sounds like the show is really going to impress visually.

BC: Tom Piper the designer is one of the best theatre designers in the country. The way he has envisaged the whole thing, coming out of a storybook really is so very, very exciting.

The show will still be a period show but some things will be a little updated. It’s amazing really just how relevant to today this show is. There’s a charming message that comes through about the preservation of flora and fauna, conservation of animals etc. and it is presented so beautifully.

ON: You’re playing two characters in the production, can you tell us a little about them?

BC: Yes I play two characters; the 1st is Albert Blossom who owns the circus. He’s a big, fun character to play and of course I get to perform the fabulous Never Seen Anything Like It which is one of the big turns in the show. He’s a wonderful character to play. The second character is a complete contrast, a character called Straight Arrow, he is head of the natives on Sea-Star Island, the island Doctor Dolittle visits. He’s very posh so a wonderful contrast to the 1st half.

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ON: Are you looking forward to spending the festive season at the Lowry?

BC: Absolutely, I often do panto at Christmas, in fact last year I was at the Stockport Plaza so I’m really excited to be coming back to the North West with such a wonderful Christmas show.

Doctor Dolittle really is a genuine family show, suitable for young and old to enjoy together. It’s going to be wonderful, there’s a great cast, spectacular songs, incredible scenery and costumes, it really will be something special.

Doctor Dolittle opens at The Lowry on Tuesday 11th December and runs until Saturday 5th January tickets available https://thelowry.com/whats-on/doctor-dolittle/