Learning to talk with animals is one thing; escaping from a peculiar tribal king who’s added you to his menu, well that’s a whole different kettle of fish.
Doctor Dolittle lives a quietly eccentric life in the sleepy village of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh. He shares his house with his sister, Sarah, and his parrot, Polynesia. Oh, and a dog, a hen, a pig, a duck, an owl and a hedgehog. But then a swallow arrives with news of a disease ravaging the monkeys in the treetops of Africa. Suddenly the good doctor and his motley crew must brave the perils of the ocean, the depths of the jungle, and a royal family with unusual tastes. Can they save the monkeys? Can they save themselves?
This brand new production for 8-13 year olds is perfect for any time of the year and a barrel of laughs, weaving a wonderful array of characters and ten brilliant new songs into a thrilling story that will capture the imagination of cast and audience alike. A good choice for a school production, a perfect leavers musical full of fun and laughter.
Africa’s monkey population is in the grips of an unknown disease (SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE MONKEYS). The Witch Doctor believes he has the solution, a cloudy one with things floating in it, but Timpani and Bongo – two of the monkeys as yet unaffected - aren’t convinced.
Meanwhile, somewhere pleasant in rural England, Doctor Dolittle’s patients wait patiently to be seen (THE BEST MD IN PUDDLEBY). When he finally arrives, accompanied by a parrot, a pig, a dog and a duck, they are a touch bemused, slightly confused and far from amused. Especially poor Mrs Parker, whose ingrowing toenail has really affected her confidence, not to mention her balance.
Later that evening, Doctor Dolittle’s sister, Sarah, gives him an ultimatum: either the animals go, or she goes. When Doctor Dolittle politely enquires where she will stay, she storms from the house. Left alone with his animals, he starts to realise that, far from their noises being random utterances, they are in fact attempts to communicate. With the help of Polynesia, the parrot, he begins to understand what they are saying (LEARNING LANGUAGES).
Time passes and Doctor Dolittle ceases to be a people doctor and instead becomes an animal doctor. The animals love the fact that he can communicate with them and really help them, whilst the Puddleby villagers, including Mrs Parker whose toe is still sore, find him increasingly bizarre and even downright mad (DOCTOR DOLITTLE).
One evening, whilst reading a story to his animals, Doctor Dolittle is interrupted by Chee Chee, the monkey, who brings news of a disease decimating Africa’s monkey population. Without a moment’s hesitation, Doctor Dolittle and his crew are on a boat and sailing into the Atlantic.
Elsewhere, in the land of the Jolliginki, King Jolli is stuffed. So too Queen Ermintrude and their children. The order is given for the other prisoners to be released – they can always catch some more when they get hungry again! But when they hear of the impending arrival of Doctor Dolittle and his entourage, they decide to welcome him into their community with open arms and open mouths (A BALANCED DIET).
The second half of the play begins with a reflection on the world’s endangered species. Could we be doing more to help? (ONE WORLD TOGETHER).
Action then returns to Doctor Dolittle and his crew, who have been captured by the Jolliginki and placed inside a large cooking pot. When they discover that this is not just some strange tribal hospitality, they determine to escape (NOT HAVING ME FOR THEIR TEA). They are assisted by the arrival of Timpani and Bongo, who cause a diversion which allows Doctor Dolittle and his animals to climb safely from the pot and make their get-away.
Meanwhile, the monkeys are saying goodbye to yet more of their brothers and sisters who have caught the disease (FAREWELL). But suddenly they hear of the doctor’s escape and delay their farewell ceremony, hoping that he will arrive soon to save them.
When King Jolli discovers that his breakfast has ‘done a runner’, he looks closer to home for alternative ingredients. Elsewhere, Doctor Dolittle and his animals stumble upon the rarest animal of all – the Pushmi-Pullyu – a remarkable creature with two heads. They pick its brains, both of them, in an attempt to find out where the monkeys are located (COMPROMISE).
The doctor and his crew arrive at the monkeys just in time, moments before the Chief gives up the fight and goes to monkey heaven. The vaccination process begins.
Meanwhile, the villagers of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh are reflecting on a tragedy of their own – the unfortunate death from septicaemia of Mrs Parker.
Back in the jungle, it’s party time as the monkeys celebrate their survival and thank Doctor Dolittle, the most incredible animal doctor the world has ever seen (MONKEY MAYHEM).