Review: No Water in the Jungle

Wednesday 7th August 2019 at Archway Methodist Church, London.


It hasn’t rained in months and the animals in the Jungle are suffering. No rain means no water to drink, no water to wash with and no water to splash about in. It means selfishness creeping in and sharing begrudgingly. It means a plan is needed! 

Ifeoma Onyefulu’s No Water in the Jungle seeks to entertain with a band of jungle friends while gently educating little ones about the ways in which human actions can have an impact on the lives of animals far, far away. Music and songs by Caroline Chan help to keep the story upbeat while delivering classic messages about friendship, working together, forgiveness and caring about our world. Director Lizeth Ramirez has our animals dancing along to Chan’s tunes and frolicking about with some lovely audience interaction thrown in for good measure.

Costumes are great within the community scale of the show – a little well applied face paint and token improvised garments help to create an elephant, a lion, a tortoise, a hippo and a dog – all providing a nice throwback to the fact that children can head into the land of make-believe with minimal encouragement. Kamali Freedman and Amali Jazeel give particularly winning performances as the tortoise and elephant.

No Water in the Jungle does well in three particular areas: the story itself, filled with animals and gentle moral lessons about team work; the emphasis on creating the piece simply with only a few makeshift costumes, sprinkles of tissue paper and a few props; its relaxed, gentle approach to children’s entertainment – you’ll find none of that ‘we’re performing for children so we must be very LOUD and zany for the duration’ here and personally, I’m all for that!

Admittedly, this show could have been livelier in places and would certainly benefit from fewer entrances and exits (something which might have trimmed to the running time which is possibly 5-10 minutes beyond the attention spans of some of the children there). Regardless, No Water in the Jungle captured the interest of the twenty or so children ranging from a few months to around 6 with few exceptions and if anything, that’s the marker of a good children’s show!

No Water in the Jungle plays at the Archway Methodist Church as part of the Camden Fringe until 11th August 2019 and you can find tickets here.

Full cast:

Tortoise: Kamali Freedman Hippo: Karolina Duda Dog: Ricarda Ruff Elephant: Amali Jazeel Lion: Anton Stennett Bird: Caroline Chan

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