If you're expecting a cuddly bear prancing around on stage for two hours singing about the bare necessities then prepare to be shocked.

This production from Metta Theatre brings Kipling’s classic tale crashing into the 21st Century with breathtaking street dance and circus.

The Jungle Book at The Theatre Royal is not like anything you would expect. Instead of an actual jungle, the show is set in the concrete jungle - a council estate to be exact.

Bagheera (played by Kloe Dean) is a famous graffiti artist, Baloo ( Stefan Puxon) is a beat-boxing bin man while Raksha (Ellen Wolf) and Akela (Matt Knight)belong to skateboarding Wolf crew.

But most interesting of all, is that Mowgli (Natalie Nicole James) is a girl. Despite these differences, this tale is just as heart-warming as the Disney classic and a brilliant coming of age story that both astonishes and amazes its audience.

Local Berkshire:

The show has been brilliantly choreographed by Kendra J Horsburgh and features jaw-dropping tricks from an extraordinary cast of performers from Zoo Nation and Cirque du Soleil.

In fact, one of the great factors about this show is the different elements of dance forms on display. One of my favourite parts was a pole dancing sequence from Kaa the snake (Nathalie Alison).

Not only did the fluid flow of her body work well to showcase Kaa's hypnotic but deadly persona, but it also highlighted pole dancing as an art form.

The sad reality is that because pole dancing is often performed in strip clubs - it's often dismissed as having no credibility and is seen as seedy. But by putting it on a theatrical stage - it made the audience truly appreciate the discipline needed to perform it.

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And speaking of dance forms, there was a lovely sequence when Mowgli tried on different dresses to leave jungle life behind her and blend into a ' civilised' society. Each time she'd don a new dress she would burst into various different dance forms from Ballet to Waltz. It was really interesting to see that despite many attempts to make her 'fit in', she still kept regressing back to her 'street life' ways.

I also enjoyed how this production broke away from the famous Disney film.

There were none of the famous songs, but instead there were many references to modern street life. When the monkeys stole Mowgli, they wheeled her around in an abandoned shopping trolley.

Even the demise of Shere Khan ( Dean Stewart) is not by death, but from being arrested. And while we're discussing Shere Khan, let's take a few moments to appreciate how the actor brilliantly portrayed his menacing nature, through his facial expressions and strong dancing.

Local Berkshire:

Music also played a massive role and the show's composer and sound designer Filipe Gomes did a fantastic job in creating the perfect soundtrack to summarise each character. Shere Khan's sound was threatening and loud, while Mowgli was delicate and almost whimsical.

Even my three year old managed to understand who was on stage simply by hearing the corresponding sound for each character. Overall, the show was different, surprising and definitely worth a watch.

Aamina Zafar

Thu 21st Apr - Sat 23rd Apr Show Times Thurs 7pm, Fri 1.30pm, 7pm, Sat 3pm, 7pm.

Ticket prices £9.50 - £17.50 Royal Specials £25 Family tickets: (1 adult, 2 children) £39.00, (2 adults, 2 children) £52.00 Group Rates: (Monday – Saturday matinee): Every 11th ticket free (excluding Royal Specials and Circle Row J)