Prepare for an adventure that's wild, whimsical, and wonderfully wacky with the musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's beloved 1978 tale, The Enormous Crocodile. Brought to life by the creative minds of Suhayla El-Bushra (book and lyrics) and Ahmed Abdullahi Gallab (music), this co-production with the Roald Dahl Story Company and Regent's Park Open Air Theatre is a playful romp through the jungle that promises heaps of fun for kids and adults alike.


Directed by the dynamic duo Emily Lim and Co-Director/Puppetry Designer Toby Olié, the show tells the story of a greedy crocodile with a grand (and quite villainous) plan to eat a trio of lost children. Armed with cunning disguises and an insatiable appetite, the crocodile's dastardly schemes are continuously thwarted by a band of kind-hearted jungle animals, ultimately leading to a hilariously cosmic comeuppance.


Malinda Parris shines as the Enormous Crocodile, delivering a performance brimming with energy and charisma. Whether she's manipulating the giant puppet jaws or zipping around the stage, Parris captivates the audience with her mischievous flair. The rest of the ensemble also deliver solid performances, adding to the vibrant atmosphere of the show. Joanna Adaran as Trunky the wise elephant, Nuwan Hugh Perera as Humpy Rumpy the farty hippopotamus, and Elise Zavou as Muggle Wump the quicksilver monkey each bring their characters to life with delightful enthusiasm. Audrey Brisson, portraying the cheeky Roly-Poly bird, engages the audience in lively interactions, encouraging everyone to mimic jungle animals and even join in on a nut-throwing frenzy.


The true stars of the show, however, are the puppets. From small hand puppets to larger-than-life costumes, the puppetry is innovative and exceptionally clever. The enormous crocodile puppet, with its massive head, snapping jaws, and detachable train, is a visual marvel. The ensemble's skilful manipulation of these creations breathes life into the jungle, making the audience feel as though they've stepped into Dahl's fantastical world.


Fly Davis' bold and gorgeous set design immerses the audience in a lush jungle environment, perfectly complemented by the open-air setting of Regent's Park. Characters occasionally emerge from the surrounding foliage, much to the delight of the young viewers. Under the musical direction of Math Roberts, the toe-tapping score, blending jazz, pop, and gospel, keeps the energy high. Each cast member hits their notes with perfection, but it's the harmonies that truly soar, lifting the story to new heights.


Audience participation is a key component of the show, with children often asked for their advice at crucial moments, keeping even the most restless young attendees engaged. This intentional breaking of the fourth wall, reminiscent of traditional pantomimes, works brilliantly, making the experience interactive and thrilling for the kids.


At its heart, The Enormous Crocodile teaches a valuable lesson about bravery and kindness. The production is colourful, entertaining, and full of joy, ensuring that it captivates audiences of all ages. Whether you're new to the theatre or a seasoned theatre-goer, this show promises a snapping good time. It's a perfect family outing, offering a magical day of fun and adventure in the jungle. Don't miss out on this enchanting production—it's a delightful treat for the whole family!


The Enormous Crocodile plays at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre until the 8th of June. For more information and tickets, follow this link. 



Review: Caleb Lee    Photo: Johan Persson