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IT'S A JUNGLE IN THERE

Baloo is a binman, and Mowgli's gone girl: an inner-city, streetsy re-telling of The Jungle Book is coming to The Patrick Centre— the adventuring little sister of the Hippodrome — from July 19 to 22. We've been speaking to the show's choreographer, Kendra J Horsburgh, about the challenges of converting Rudyard Kipling and Disney to stage.
On the show and setting

"Kipling's book came before the Disney film but most people base their knowledge of the story on the latter — itself a re-telling. The last thing you want to do is crush people's memories of something they enjoyed tremendously but I strongly believe this production successfully incorporates both versions, and does so without leaving out too much of Kipling's original tales.

"Set in an urban jungle rather than an actual jungle, director Poppy Burton-Morgan's colourful, happy, energised twist in terms of setting has allowed us to create a production which is relevant to today — it could be set in the streets of Birmingham, or London, or of any major city. We've never sat down and decided on a specific location; we want the performance to speak to people globally."
On the female voice and breaking stereotypes

"Poppy definitely has a strong wont to give more voices to female performers and finds it important to break stereotypes and boundaries. Casting a female Mowgli was completely deliberate. All the characters were kind of open to gender when we started working up the piece but Mowgli was always going to be played by a woman. The leading narrative in this production is about people having a voice, finding that voice, and using it. Initially, Mowgli doesn't know where she is but as the story unfolds, we see her confidence grow through movement and interaction.

"And Baloo was always going to be a binman — yes, his job is to sweep the streets but like so many people in roles that do not immediately seem important, he’s also the most caring member of the community and turns out to be the most important character in the show. Developing what kind of character he is, how he moves and what his characteristics are — it's been hugely enjoyable but not without time pressure. I'm really excited by what the characters have become through the development process across the show."
On hip-hop vs street dance and immersive theatre

"This is the big conversation — people's perceptions of hip-hop as compared to street dance. Associate hip-hop with a show and people for some reason expect hooded types with guns — which couldn't be further from what hip-hop is about. You won't find anything close to these preconceptions in this big, bright show. Street dance, including hip-hop, locking, popping and traditional urban movement is definitely the right way to describe the dance genre for The Jungle Book. Apart from the ballet sequence. Oh, and Chinese pole and ropes — and there's plenty of circus and acrobatics too. The disciplines merge really well together.

"More intimate theatres [like The Patrick Centre] allow you to get closer to the audience, not just physically but emotionally. With my performer's hat on, stadiums didn't make me nervous, it was always those spaces where you looked up and could see right into the eyes of your audience. For me, street dance is best experienced in an immersive setting, where you can feel the emotion behind the movement, where you can see right into the performers' eyes."

Also at The Patrick Centre this season:
Hip-hop dance company ZooNation re-imagine The Wizard of Oz. And look silly good while they do so. September 27 to 29, tickets are £12.
Landscapes is a tingle-inducing puppet show set inside a big white dome. From August 9 to 12, tickets are £10. Did somebody say school holidays?
Dracula: The Bloody Truth is a new physical, comedic tale about you know who. Aug 15 & 16. Tickets (£12).
Seeta Patel presents her critically high-fived solo work in Indian classical dance on September 24. Tickets (£12).

FILM PICK: WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES


Though unlikely to be the last we hear from our new simian overlords, the final entry in the rebooted Planet of the Apes trilogy is the bleakest yet, but still gets the popcorn shaking. Andy Serkis's Caesar, having spent the previous film preaching peace, is now on a quest upriver for vengeance on Woody Harrelson's unhinged Colonel. If that sounds a wee bit Apocalypse Now, that's because it is, except in the Rockies. That's a deep pond to step in, but the fact a film essentially about cartoon apes doesn't totally humiliate itself in the process is a real achievement, and another of the pleasant surprises this franchise is adept at delivering. Times

MAXIMUM DOODLING


We've got a feeling the back of Dan Lloyd's maths textbook packed a rather more impressive punch than our own in the sketching stakes. Fast forward an undisclosed number of years and mose78, as he's known in the Brum art world, has turned graffiti into a full-time endeavour. Part of the Distorted Minds Crew who rocked Centrala earlier this year, the Brummie was commissioned together with VoidOne and Craug to cover an entire studio in doodle style artwork. Over nine hours, the triplet covered the walls, floor, ceiling and even the sofa. Here's how it went down in 3 mins. Find mose78 producing live artwork on July 15.

WIN: A CANAL TRIP AND DIN-DINS FOR YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES


We're good to you. And by "we" we really mean the people we work with. And by "the people we work with" we really mean the newest bar and restaurant on the Brum scene, The Canal House. The second venue from the New Word Trading Company (the people behind The Botanist) is offering one of you lovelies the chance to be a bona fide office hero. If you win you'll be picked up by barge with 13 of your colleagues, for a trip down the canal with a drinks reception on deck. You'll then be dropped off at The Canal House for a masterclass and slap-up dinner. Aptly based in Brindleyplace at the former James Brindley pub on Bridge Street, by Gas Street Basin (pictured), the new venue will honour the life, work and spirit of the 18th Century master canal engineer. To be in with a chance of winning, head here and enter a valid work email address before July 21. One entrant will be chosen at random and notified by I Choose Birmingham during the week commencing July 31. The prize is valid for Friday, August 11 only and other T&C apply.
Venue: The Keg & Grill, 52 Upper Gough St, B1 1JL; website
Choice: Lamb chop masala (£10.95) Chooser: Bar man

If you're looking for an old school British pub, with original Victorian features in which to while away a full day's supping, the Keg & Grill absolutely isn't for you. Handsome, this venue is not. However, when the food arrives you'll look past the dated carpet, granny furniture and student union paint job. These minor details matter not when the taste is this tip-top. Though the sizzling grills are the restaurant's headline (you don't need to go large on this, regular will suffice for two), it's a spellbinding main that surprised and delighted us, a rare feat being as we've been eating Indian food for 37 years, three months and 16 days. The lamb chops masala is a dish we're going to bore others about from today right to our death bed. Because doctors like curry too. Landing itself in the Venn diagram sweet spot between saucy and dry, the messiest of meaty experiences was rich and warming and conversation-terminatingly good. We'd rank this alongside Imlees incredible Karrara Gosht as one of the deepest and most delicious desi dishes in the city. Menu
  • Go all Italiano this very night. Spontaneous, right? 1,000 Trades is your destination, Connolly's will be on vino and the menu looks acesome
  • RJJZ is a jazz cafe bar under Arch 24, past Connolly's and The Indian Brewery. It does actual live jazz things. And if that piques your interest, this weekend is Birmingham Jazz Festival
  • It's a double pop-up situation from Loaf, involving Japanese fried chicken
  • For all the juniper, proceed directly to Edgbaston Stadium. Tickets for the Big Time Gin Festival, doing its thing on November 11, are now on sale, at £8.30
  • On Wednesday (July 19) Tonkotsu have got comp'ed ramen for the nabbling. The first fifty to buy a bowl of the hot stuff in their Selfridges branch will be given a voucher for their next, you guessed it, ramen!
"For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack." - Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book
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WORDS: Tom CullenKaty DrohanAndrew Lowry
IMAGES: Richard Davenport (The Jungle Book), Ross Jukes (Canal) 


I Choose Birmingham, 2 St Philips Place, Second Floor, Birmingham, B3 2RB
Copyright © 2017 Birmingham Publishing Group Ltd, All rights reserved.


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