101 Dalmatians – The Musical review: ‘A long way from Disney’s version’

Zinnie Harris’ stage version is updated with Cruella de Vil (Kate Fleetwood) as an Only Way Is Essex influencer whose primary ambition is to increase the number of ‘likes’ on her social media platforms.

Invited to a Black And White Ball, she hopes to make a splash with a coat of many colours. Well, two – black and white.

So she kidnaps Dalmatian puppies including the new litter produced by loved-up doggos Pongo and Perdi.

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A long way from Disney’s version, the modern additions and the songs by actor Douglas Hodge do little to enhance the narrative.

The set is the title spelled out in blocks that make it look like a tatty provincial discotheque, and the choreography leaves much to be desired.

The glove-puppet puppies are uninspired, though Pongo and Perdi with their human rear ends (Danny Collins and Emma Lucia) have real emotional pull.

Resplendent in a succession of outrageous wigs and costumes, Kate Fleetwood makes a good fist of Cruella and delivers her numbers with old-school panache, although Hodge’s frequently witty lyrics are ill-served by his banal tune-making.

The occasional highlights in the second half aren’t enough to raise it above the level of a lesser-spotted musical.

  • 101 Dalmatians – The Musical. Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre until August 28. Tickets: 0333 400 3562

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