Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

THE ENORMOUS CROCODILE at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre


“a fun and happy atmosphere in the perfect surroundings of the Open Air Theatre”

Even with continual rain – and a short stop mid show, as eight top notch stage crew mopped up the flooded stage for safety; The Enormous Crocodile is a snappy tuneful wonder.

This new musical based on the classic Roald Dahl picture book, on the whole stays close to the original story; taking the audience from the muddy shores of the Nile and through the treacherous jungle, as the dastardly enormous crocodile goes in search of a nice juicy little child for lunch!

As the audience arrives, there are bubble machines and recorded jungle noises, and animal roars and trumpeting, creating a fun and happy atmosphere in the perfect surroundings of the Open Air Theatre.

The cast appear in stunning headdresses whilst wearing smile inducing chest high fishing waders and wellington boots, as they jump into the river Nile with their firefly puppets. The colourful tropical jungle comes to vibrant life.

All the much-loved characters are played by the five excellent cast members, creating delightful puppetry with the fantastic puppets designed by Toby Olié, which often integrate into Fly Davis’ super clever set and costume designs.

Malinda Parris, in the titular role, stays as the crocodile throughout – with quick changes to the extended long tail. Starting with the full cast creating the tail, it then morphs into a fast moving long tailed go-cart with the actor upfront as she gyrates the croc’s humungous head and toothy mouth, belting out crocodile songs!

The enormous crocodile meets the farty, soon to be mud loving, Humpy-Rumpy Hippopotamus, played by the always brilliant Nuwan Hugh Perera. Onwards through the jungle the enormous crocodile meets Trunky the Elephant (Joanna Adaran); the cheeky monkey Muggle-Wump (Elise Zavou) and finally the comedic and delightful Audrey Brisson as the Roly-Poly Bird. The four jungle friends are disgusted that the enormous crocodile is wanting to eat a child – and decide they need to put a stop to him!

The arrival of the Jungle Juniors is a show highlight, as the silly teacher takes them on a jungle adventure. And in true Dahlian style the children “do what we are told not to do”, and once lost in the jungle sing a sweet brave song. The enormous crocodile tries to eat the children by pretending to be a coconut tree (genius set design), a seesaw, and after eating the teacher, the croc dons the teacher’s clothes in the awful reptile’s quest to eat the children!

A magical, if quirky, ending in space as the enormous crocodile explodes into the sun and sizzles up like a sausage – dead!

Maybe not quite as dark as Roald Dahl intended. Time for a celebration!

The tasty, if unmemorable, tunes come fast and furious, composed by Ahmed Abdullahi Gallab, book and lyrics by Suhayla El-Bushra, with additional music by Tom Brady, it’s a jam packed 55-minute show.

The Enormous Crocodile is directed by Emily Lim and co-directed by Toby Olié, with uncomplicated choreography by Vicki Igbokwe-Ozoagu. Musical director Máth Roberts on keyboard, is the only live musician on-stage, hidden in plain sight in a bird hide! The pre-recorded music band sounds great. Tom Gibbons sound design works seamlessly in the open air, and even though The Enormous Crocodile plays during the day Jessica Hung Han Yun’s lighting sparkles.

A croc of gold for younger audiences!

THE ENORMOUS CROCODILE at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Reviewed on 22nd May 2024

by Debbie Rich

Photography by Johan Persson




Previously reviewed at this venue:

TWELFTH NIGHT | ★★★★★ | May 2024
LA CAGE AUX FOLLES | ★★★★★ | August 2023
ONCE ON THIS ISLAND | ★★★★ | May 2023
LEGALLY BLONDE | ★★★ | May 2022



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