The Hundred and One Dalmations at the Birmingham REP

Disclosure: We were provided tickets free of charge for the purpose of this post.

We recently attended the press night of the new stage adaptation of one of my favourite childhood books, The Hundred and One Dalmations, at the Birmingham REP Theatre.

Adapted from the book by Dodie Smith of the same name, the show tells the tale of the Dearly family, and their two Dalmations Pongo and Missus. The nefarious Cruella de Vil has her heart set on a spotted Dalmation fur coat, and wants every Dalmation puppy she can get her hands on to make it.

Before long, Pongo and Missus have their own litter of puppies and Cruella hires dastardly duo the Baddun brothers to steal them away. Pongo and Missus track down their missing pups using the Twilight Bark, and head out across the country to save them and bring them home.

I was really pleased to see that the adaptation stayed so close to the story in the original book, with the third adult dog Perdita appearing – along with an awful lot of puppies, of course! Both the human and canine characters were just brilliant, with some amazing acting and puppetry involved!

The costumes, the music, the puppets and the comedic moments all come together to make a perfectly entertaining show. Cruella is a villain that everyone loves to hate, her long suffering husband and both the Dearlys keep you smiling, and the Baddun brothers are hilarious in their ineptitude. Some of the singing is incredible, and I really enjoyed the jazzy score that accompanied the show.

The incredibly talented cast do wonders bringing the characters, and the dogs, to life on stage. As for the dogs, the puppetry is simply fantastic and they have clearly spent hours getting the dogs to move just right – you could almost believe that they are real dogs; the mannerisms, movement and emotion portrayed by ‘mere puppets’ is astonishing.

Georgie and Lydia enjoyed the show; Lydia got a bit nervous about Cruella’s intentions but they were both very pleased with the happy ending! I really loved it; I was laughing out loud throughout and even teared up slightly during the emotional Twilight Bark scene, which was just perfect.

We highly recommend the show – it’s an ideal Christmas treat for all the family. The Hundred and One Dalmations is on at the Birmingham REP until 13th January 2018.