The Hundred And One Dalmatians: BBC Review

An all-round family friendly performance showcasing the talents of some of the county's rising stars. 

The Hundred And One Dalmatians is well known as a much loved children's classic. Indeed, it has earned its place in the Hollywood halls of fame through a dumbed down Disney movie. Thankfully, this Glyn Robbins's adaptation performed by The Royal Company contained much more appeal for the whole family. 

Complete with a 1960s soundtrack and fashion, the play is both upbeat and interactive with swift scene changes to keep the kids at bay! 

However, whilst appealing to children, the audience involvement could warm even the coldest of hearts. 

The play 
The play itself stays very close to the original story, and even throws in a few double entendres which make for secretive adult amusement. 

The children in the audience were much too captivated to notice anyway, swept away into this fairytale where dogs stand and talk just like people – except for when their human pets enter the room of course! 

Toyah Willcox was the much-touted star of the production, and made for a very impressive Cruella. 

Again, her caricatured performance was fuelled by audience interaction; with children booing upon her entrance and exit, and her shouting things back at their innocent heckles. 

Toyah's dancing skills were put to good use in sections of the play also, and it was blatantly obvious that she was thoroughly enjoying every camped up moment! 

Mr Pongo 
As well as Toyah's undoubted star talent, it became apparent that there are indeed a fair few rising stars waiting in the wings at the Royal Company. Amongst these was Matt Grainger, playing Mr Pongo. 

The young stars of the Royal Company also made enchanting puppies, which children in the audience then imitated not only throughout the performance and interval, but also on the tram home with their little souvenir tails on! 

For both children and children-at-heart alike, The 101 Dalmatians remains an enchanting piece of theatre which broadcasts the talent of our fine county for all to see. 

I give The 101 Dalmatians a Blast reporter 4 out of 5. (Review by Enola Radford)
1st August 2006