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REVIEW: Doctor Dolittle


Venue: The Bacon Theatre, Cheltenham

Doctor Dolittle 23

Tethered Wits gave a fun performance of Doctor Dolittle at The Bacon Theatre, Cheltenham today.  It was due to be in The Tuckwell Amphitheatre as part of their open-air tours but due to the current British summer weather it was with regret but good opportunity changed to indoors just opposite (thankfully!). 

Due to the change in venue the start was a bit of a surprise as the cast just appeared from an open curtain with the lights staying up - something I am not used to in an indoor theatre - but we soon saw the clever puppetry and fun animal characters created by the actors come to life: a cute orange Gub-Gub the pig (Oliver Stockley), cheeky Chee-Chee the monkey (Amelia Stanimeros), colourful Polynesia the parrot (Olivia Willis) and funny gruff Jip the dog (Deakin Van Leeuwen), using simple but effective puppets with different facial features and accents.  Dr Dolittle (Rory Dulku) commanded centre stage with a well projected voice and stage presence, needed to 'manage' the on-stage animals and some of the younger excited audience members!  The story is simple and fun, using animal jokes and common phrases to make all us humans think, interspersed with music by the talented cast including my favourite, a pig version of 'I Dreamed a Dream' from Les Mis.  Audience participation was encouraged for the Chee-Chee slide (many kids are big fans of the cha cha slide) led by the female cast with the chaps playing guitar, trombone and saxophone, showing all members have a variety of talent.  One point I think could help is if the dance is 'mirrored' when asking audience to join in face on, especially very young people who are still learning their lefts and rights!

The costumes suited each character well with good use of props and additions for quick changes of character, particularly Polynesia into Annie and Jip into Sidney and a very funny maid, with physical animated acting.  The cast and crew clearly worked hard to bring this performance alive and adjusted well to their new space as all had multiple characters.  There was chance to meet the animals after the show which is a lovely touch and although my child is a bit old for this now (I would say suitable for under 10s) we all enjoyed it and my husband got to meet his favourite character Jip

Doctor Dolittle  Doctor Dolittle 1

Tethered Wits was created by two Durham University graduates in 2019 and has grown to share the love of performance and theatre across the country this year.  To find out more about them and future performance dates for Dr Dolittle and evening performances of The Great Gatsby go to: or check social media.

Review by Tracy.



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