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Doctor Dolittle first saw light in the author's illustrated letters to children, written from the trenches during World War I when actual news, he later said, was either too horrible or too dull. The stories are set in early Victorian England, where Doctor John Dolittle lives in the fictional village of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh. A 1998 – 1999 stage musical by Leslie Bricusse, based on the earlier film musical. A touring stage musical, Doctor Dolittle The Musical, which was built in Owensboro, Kentucky and opened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in summer 2005.

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      01.02.2001 21:43

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      And the animals talked back. The effects were great, animals coming out of here there and everywhere, dazzling on the eyes. I loved it, the kids in the audience loved it, everyone loved it. You get the picture it is good. If you don't want something as heavy as the wonderous Les Mis, maybe you should give this a try, as I fly into the sky. Woops sorry getting carried away there. Anyway it is a definite watch for all the families, but don't you dare hum the tune!.

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      17.08.2000 04:56
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      If I could talk to the animals...learn their languages, maybe take an animal degree... So sings, well *speaks* Philip Schofield, in this stage version of Doctor Doolittle, which was based on the 60's film starring Rex Harrison, which was in turn based on the books by Hugh Lofting. Maybe a production with such a good history was bound to be a success... Certainly Doctor Doolittle attracted lots of publicity when it was on the London stage, featuring regularly on the television and the press. There were stories about Julie Andrews, who provides the voice of Polynesia the parrot, she was recovering from severe vocal problems at the time and newspapers were full of "Will She Ever Sing Again?" stories. There was a lot of speculation about whether Philip Schofield would be able to follow up his massive (and largely surprising) success in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. And there were various features about the Animatronics which were created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop...how they work, how they are made...will they work on the stage, night after night? I went to see this show as a family treat, I assumed my children would enjoy it and I wouldn't...I was wrong...it was great! Firstly, Philip Schofield was a revelation to me...I only knew him as Gordon the Gophers friend and Presenter of Children's BBC. But he has enormous stage pressence...basically he is just so...likeable!! Now normally I would say that in a sarcastic way, but not this time. He radiates such a pleasant and friendly personality, it was almost impossible not to sit and smile at him! The sets were magnificant - leading to gasps of approval from the audience. The interior of Doctor Doolittles house is jam packed with detail, bats hanging from library shelves, a smoking chimney, animals peering through doors and windows...there was so much to look at, that even if
      the singing and dancing was not to your taste, you still wouldn't be bored. At one stage the main characters go to sea - this set consists of the interior of their boat, complete with rocking motion! As the most sea-sick person in England, (I feel sick if I stand in a puddle!!), I probably appreciated more than most people, just how realistic the movement was... The Animatronics were great, and the interaction between cast and animals was superb and very funny. The pig farts, the dog does a wee on stage and you have to keep reminding yourself that these are...dare I say it...puppets...and not real at all! The baby Push-Me-Pull-You was the cutest thing imaginable, so were the "widowed" fox and her cubs (I really should go and write an opinion on fox hunting) and the sea-lion was so sweet, it hardly seemed the least bit odd when Philip Schfield carried her to the sea, sang her a love song and set her free to find her "husband"!! My children sat entranced by the whole show...there was very little movement in the audience and as all parents know, when the kids get fed-up, they want to be taken to the loo...there were hardly any trips to the toilets during this show...in my opinion, that's a certain sign that the younger members of the audience were enjoying themselves. This production is currently touring the UK and although it is an expensive night out for the family, I would thoroughly recommend it, if it comes to a theatre near you.

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