It’s a jungle out there — but local kids will turn it into a great show

By Riverine Herald

THE Jungle Book Kids is ready to be brought to life after the cast was announced this week.

Twenty five children, aged between eight and 12, have been selected after a gruelling audition process on Saturday.

And heading the cast as the curious man cub Mowgli is Kiki Ekeanyanwu, while Shanti, the human girl who follows him around the jungle, will be played by Meaghan Gould.

Trying to protect Mowgli from the dangers of the jungle is the wise panther Bagheera, to be played by Ruby Newman.

Ruby’s brother Digby stars as the loveable bear Baloo, while cheeky King Louie will be played by Amali Nunan.

Ruby Miles is set to scare audiences as the ferocious tiger Shere Khan while Georgia Cadd will play the sly snake Kaa.

Heading the elephant troupe is Colonel Hathi, who will be played by Maverick Failla, while Josh Parker stars as Baby Elephant. The ensemble includes Aiden Anderson, Georgia Weier, Grace McMaster, Hannah McBurnie, Imogen Leerson, Jazmyn Parker, Kinsey Graham, Kokona Koreeda, Libby Johns, Mali Retallick, Maya Wise, Melanie Francis, Parker Goulding, Rose Byrne, Sari McCormick and Tia Kirkpatrick.

Director Lesley Summers said she couldn’t be any happier with the cast, which wasted no time getting together for its first read-through on Wednesday.

‘‘It’s lovely to see so many new faces and representing most of the schools in the area,’’ she said. ‘‘Our first read-through went well with the children picking the songs up quite quickly as well as some extra dance moves that were added to the audition dance they had already learnt.

‘‘I think we have the beginning of lots of new friendships and a great show to come.’’

■Four performances of The Jungle Book Kids will be held at the Paramount from November 8-10.