Disney in Concert – The Jungle Book – Royal Festival Hall

image1Disney in Concert – The Jungle Book was performed at the Royal Festival Hall, London.

Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩

The UK premiere of Disney in Concert – The Jungle Book, produced by Senbla Live, played on the big screen at the Royal Festival Hall for two special symphonic cinema concerts yesterday, accompanied by the Novello Orchestra.

Inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s classic novel, the Disney masterpiece has lived in the hearts of audiences since its cinema debut in 1967.

The film itself already has a strong musical context, with characters being played by popular jazz musicians, including Louis Prima voicing King Louie and Phil Harris as Baloo.

With this in mind, it The Jungle Book proves to be the perfect Disney classic to showcase in concert. If the film already leaves you tapping your feet while contemplating the bare necessities of life, listening to the Sherman Brothers’ memorable songs performed by a 50-piece orchestra is a wonderful way to spend an evening.

Placing the format within the Royal Festival Hall also contributes to the evening’s success. Any concern that the orchestra might drown out the film’s dialogue, or vice versa, in such a large venue quickly dissipates.

The timing of the Novello orchestra, led by its conductor David Mahoney, is nothing less than impeccable.

The orchestra doesn’t only accompany the film’s songs, but also contributes sound effects throughout. This means that the audience is transported into the heart of the jungle, creating a truly engaging and unique cinematic experience.

Despite the disappointing lack of any singers (pre-publicity had promised a line-up of special guests), it is possible that live vocals could have distracted from the genius of the film itself.

Overall, Disney in Concert  – The Jungle Book proved itself to be a great success, hopefully there will be more to follow.

Polly Sisley



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