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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

Dr. Dolittle

The Liverpool Empire Theatre

Author: Leslie Bricusse
Director: Bob Tomson
Producer: Bill Kenwright Ltd.
Cast Includes: Tommy Steele, Abigail Jaye, Connor Michael-Sheridan,
Joanna Forrest, James Deverell, Debden Clarke, Halcro Johnston, David Anthony, Joanna Lee Martin, Ako Mitchell
Running Time: 2 hrs 20 mins
December 6 – December 29, 2007

Image: Tommy Steele as Dr. Dolittle

Vast, spectacular and a huge amount of fun. Just three ways to describe this production of Dr. Dolittle starring theatre and film legend, Tommy Steele, who brings the show alive with his larger than life personality.

In a recent interview, Tommy Steele said the show “has Disney written all over it”, yet in actual fact, a better comparison would be the magic brought to life by Jim Henson, such are the splendour of the animal characters such as the Pushmi-Pullyu, the Elephants, the very short-sighted horse and, of course, the Greaty Pink Sea Snail around which the story revolves, who all join in to make the show fabulous entertainment for children and adults alike. Though by far the best and most endearing is Jip the Doctor’s Old English Sheepdog, performed with terrific realism by James Deverell, who is just so lifelike.

Image: Dr.Dolittle screenshotOf the humans, Abigail Jaye is a delight to watch perform in the role of Emma Fairfax and her singing is crystal clear and soars high above the impressive orchestra and her version of Something In Your Smile, was without doubt, a show-stopper.

Impressive, too, are Connor Michael-Sheridan in the role of Matthew Muggins, whose charm is mixed with a suitable Irish roguishness absent in the movie version, and Joanna Forrest as Tommy Stubbins, though it remains a mystery as to why it was a girl was chosen to play a boy.

Stealing the show, however, was Tommy Steele with his overall enthusiasm, energy and ability. Watching him on stage, it is easy to see how it is he has survived in the business for nearly fifty years and why it is he still appeals to young and old alike.

His dancing is as agile as ever, his agility untainted by age and his singing – though a little lost at times in this vast arena, impressive and numbers such as Welcome To The World Of Doctor Dolittle, After Today and the seminal If I Could Talk To The Animals were all highlights given a coat of fresh paint in the star performer’s star hands.

This is a truly remarkable show and, like puppies, is one not just for Christmas so make sure to book at a theatre near you when it hits the road in 2008.

Click here to view details and book for the Liverpool Empire Theatre



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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