The Concrete Jungle Book
- Arusa Qureshi
- 15 August 2017
Kipling's colonial story gets a grime inspired update
Many will remember Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book as a classic tale of family, loyalty and courage in the face of adversity. HighRise Theatre's adaptation takes these familiar themes and examines them in the context of poverty, homelessness and the ill-treatment of refugees and migrants.
The Concrete Jungle Book is a hip hop musical that transports the familiar characters of Kipling's story to inner-city Britain where the threat of violence and gangs loom large, particularly for at-risk youths. Mo, a fostered teen, runs away in response to feelings of abandonment but soon discovers, upon meeting some sketchy characters, that the streets are not a forgiving, nor safe place.
The use of rap, grime and spoken word throughout offers a fresh approach to a well-known tale, with great skill and creativity employed by the stellar cast, especially in the play's darkest and most compelling moments.
Writer Dominic Garfield, who also plays central character Mo, provides us with a story that is dynamic and timely but also familiar in its treatment of forgotten communities. The Concrete Jungle Book is not just about the hardships of one character, but a wider comment on the systemic abandonment of the most vulnerable in society.
ZOO, run ended.