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Audio Drama Review


The Jungle Book
Full-cast Dramatisation


Author: Rudyard Kipling
Starring: Nisha K. Nayer, Jonathan Hyde, Eartha Kitt and Freddie Jones
BBC Audio
RRP: £9.99
ISBN: 978 1 408 40067 8
Available 10 July 2008

Rudyard Kipling's famous tale tells the story of Mowgli, the 'man-cub' rescued from the tiger Shere Khan and adopted by a wolf pack. As he grows up, Mowgli learns the ways of the jungle from Baloo the bear, Bagheera the black panther and Kaa the rock python. His life is full of adventure with the jungle creatures, but soon the time comes when he is forced to leave and take his place among his own people. A kind woman looks after Mowgli but she can't protect him from the superstitious villagers who believe his friendship with wolves is the result of sorcery. Mowgli's only escape is to return to the jungle. But even the jungle has become a dangerous place...

Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 5 in five episodes from 14-18 February 1994, The Jungle Book takes Rudyard Kipling's original 1894 short story collection and breathes new life into the old classic. The basic plot should already familiar to most people. Whether you've read the two original books of short stories, seen the animated Disney movie, or been a Cub Scout (which is based on the characters), you'll feel right at home here.

The story starts with a young human cub, called Mowgli, being discovered in the Jungle. The council meets to decide what to do with the new addition to the jungle. The Bengal tiger, Shere Khan, wants to kill the cub but, as is the way of the jungle, in order to save the human must vouch for it. Step forward Baloo the bear and Bagheera a black panther.

The story follows Mowgli as he explores the jungle coming into contact with a tribe of mischievous monkeys, having to convince the council that he should still be allowed to live with them when their leader, the wolf Akela, looks too old to stay in charge, and having his first contact with humans, where he steals a red flower (which is actually fire). Then, when he's shunned from the village, he has to try to fit in with humans - some of whom don't trust him because of where he's come from.

All of the performances here are impressive, but I was pleased to see that Eartha Kitt still appears be her usual mad self. She turns in an impressive interpretation of Kaa the Indian python. I say impressive, she just does what she used to do as Catwoman, but instead of purring all the time, she hisses.

This two-disc CD will be of interest to young and old alike. This is certainly a collection I'd recommend.


Amber Leigh

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