Jungle fever set to strike city theatre

IT’S a jungle out there – or at least it will be when Baloo, Bagheera and the rest swing in to action.

Darragh Mortell, Jungle Book

IT’S a jungle out there – or at least it will be when Baloo, Bagheera and the rest swing in to action.

The stars of a new production of The Jungle Book were in Newcastle yesterday to promote the show at The Journal Tyne Theatre.

Darragh Mortell, best known to young TV viewers as Crash from the BBC’s Tracy Beaker series, will be donning a loincloth for the part of Mowgli.

The 18-year-old Welshman said: “This will be the third time I’ve worked with this company and they are a great bunch, but it will be my first time on stage in Newcastle. I’m really excited about it.”

He didn’t have his (skimpy) costume with him but gamely posed for pictures with some girls who did.

They were members of the Hazel Rayson Theatre Dance School at Blaydon who will swell the cast when the show opens at the Westgate Road venue on April 16.

Also present yesterday was Kim Tserkezie who will play the Story Teller in the show.

Kim, who was married in February to science teacher Daniel Tunnicliffe, is famous as Penny Pocket from the TV children’s series Balamory.

“The most exciting thing about this job is that I haven’t been on stage in Newcastle since my early days of theatre training,” said the Newcastle actress.

Also in the cast are Pete Hillier, alias Boogie Pete from Boogie Beebies, who plays Baloo the bear, and actor Paul Ferguson, who plays nimble panther Bagheera.

Still remembered as Bubble from an early series of Big Brother, Paul broke his leg in the house but struggled on with crutches until he was voted out.

Yesterday the affable Londoner insisted the Big Brother tag had become a bit of a nuisance.

He said he’d been to drama college but still people imagined he got chosen for his Big Brother fame. Since then he had directed and acted in several shows.

Producer Gary Telfer, of New World Productions, said The Jungle Book followed their successful version of The Wizard of Oz at the same theatre last year.

Tickets for The Jungle Book, which runs from April 16-20, cost £13 to £14.50. Tel. (0844) 493 9999 or book online at www.thejournaltyne theatre.co.uk

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