The historical venue of Richmond Theatre hosts plays consistently throughout the year; this month, it saw Jessica Swale's playful adaptation of The Jungle Book. On the 7th of February, they performed their first night, to an audience of many eager young fans and their families.

Like its predecessors, this rendition of The Jungle Book tells the story of Mowgli, a child raised as a cub, adopted into a jungle lifestyle. Mowgli grows up with wolves for friends and Bagheera (a panther) and Baloo (a bear) as unlikely parents. Though he knows he is unlike any other wolf, it is not until Mowgli learns of Shere Khan, the tiger who hunts him, that he realises the dangers his differences bring him. Ultimately, however, it is these differences that bring him the strength to defend himself and his family - both the family he knows and the family he doesn't.

The Jungle Book is joyfully vibrant and bursts off the stage. It is a multi-sensory experience; numerous songs, composed by Joe Stilgoe, carry a bright sense of fun, as well as boasting the skills of the performers, who sing, act and play instruments at each varying moment. Costumes are creatively used to full effect, particularly notable being the glittering green spectacle of Kaa the python. When asked if dance featured prominently in the play, Lloyd Gorman and Ruri James, two cast members, described, "movement is more prominent than dance - the wolves, for example, use crutches to imitate being four-legged.".

This particular production marked itself out by its touching affiliations to the modern-day; in one line, Bagheera states that a family can have two dads or two mums (though Mowgli himself has a panther and a bear). The theme of identity and conformity is as relevant as it was in 1894, when Rudyard Kipling's stories were first published, no matter the age of the audience member. Mowgli, just like every other cub, has to find for himself where he belongs, and this is done touchingly - and with a reminder that your real family is always just behind you.