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The Enormous Crocodile | Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

The Enormous Crocodile is a wonderfully imaginative and creative way to bring this beloved Roald Dahl story to the stage as a musical. This short story has been adapted for stage by Suhayla El-Bushra, who also wrote lyrics. With original songs by Ahmed Abdullahi Gallab and orchestrated by Tom Brady, direction by Emily Lim, and input from The Roald Dahl Story Company, this production brings these beloved characters to life. 

This short musical (running time of 55 minutes) not only boasts a number of strong songs, but also remains a faithful adaptation to the short story. Aimed for younger audiences, the musical is filled with colourful sets, majestic puppetry, funny jokes, teaching moments and fun. 

The cast are marvellous, bringing enormous levels of energy to the younger audiences. Tackling the physical restraints of literally embodying animals whilst delivering stunning performances, the cast soars in this production. Particularly outstanding were Nuwan Hugh Perera as Humpy-Rumpy and Child and Malinda Parris as The Enormous Crocodile. Parris is given a number of songs to showcase her incredible vocal range, alongside her wonderfully funny, yet sinister performance. Perera is charming and so lively, bringing an incredible stage presence in each role. 

The stage (Fly Davis) is decorated with fun green leaves, movable bushes and logs, creating a forest for the story. An additional level of environment is created with this production being staged in an outdoor theatre, and often has the actors emerging from actual bushes or utilising the natural sound scape. The costumes (Davis) are colourful and striking, giving the audience an immediate understanding of the characters. The quick changes are remarkable but it's the puppetry that really takes centre stage. 

The puppetry in this production is exquisite. Whilst it doesn't quite match the famous Disney's The Lion King, it certainly presents itself as a rival. The puppetry is woven into the costumes (Toby Olié), allowing the characters to wear and become the characters. Performers Elise Zavou, Audrey Brisson and Joanna Adaran, who respectively play Muggle-Wump the Monkey, Roly-Poly the Bird and Trunky the Elephant, all adorn their characters and embrace the roles. It's truly stunning to watch a large and suspended artificial elephant head or a feathery bird tail dance across the stage, and ultimately is a delight for the entire audience. 

The Enormous Crocodile, is functioned as its own entity guided by Parris, with a customised pedal vehicle. Triumphantly domineering the stage, this particular prop was a new level of excellence for the production. Another stellar creation was the use of innovative creativity to turn the adult performers into children. The production often draws younger audience members in with audience interaction (including a fun moment of fighting the crocodile), catchy songs, delightful puppetry, and a talented and incredibly diverse cast. 

The Enormous Crocodile is the perfect way to have some quality family fun. It is currently playing at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre until the 8th June. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5*)

Gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Johan Persson


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