Review of The Enormous Crocodile- The Musical

Along with my folks and toddler too, we kicked off the festive season in Christmas-themed outfits (well, Florence did at least) for the press performance of Roald Dahl’s The Enormous Crocodile-The Musical at Leeds Playhouse in the heart of Yorkshire. 

One of the UK’s leading producing theatres for over 50 years now, attending performances at the Playhouse always fills me with equal parts of nostalgia and joy, and this visit was no different. 

The theatre hub has expanded hugely since my last visit over 5 years ago when we first departed for Windsor (we’re now back in Yorkshire), and is home to world-class theatre for adults and children alike. 

The adaptation of Dahl’s 1978 The Enormous Crocodile (a picture book written for a younger audience than his others) is a case in point.

 A co-production with the Roald Dahl Story Company and Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, directed by the brilliant duo Emily Lim and Co-Director and Puppetry Designer Toby Olié, this musical is a playful, laugh out loud funny and passionately performed piece about a greedy crocodile who plots and plans to eat a trio of lost children in the jungle, taking on various disguises as he goes, until his evil plans are thwarted by a group of kind animals who save the kids and send the croc to space! 

The cast connected with the young audience from the get-go, prancing through the aisles brandishing wooden butterflies and snakes on strings, chatting to the children in attendance and making them feel welcome and excited for what was to come. 

This set the tone for a thrillingly engaging and interactive performance enhanced by the bold and beautiful set design, catchy musical score and dramatic perfomances-and the fact that the children in the audience were often asked for their advice at important turning points in the story, much to their delight. This intentional breaking down of the fourth wall worked well with a young audience (who are no doubt, used to attending pantomines) and helped to retain even the most active of children’s attention spans such as my toddler Florence who at 2 was the youngest there.

Collectively, we squealed, laughed and booed throughout this edge of your seat 55 minute production where the jungle and most importantly, Dahl’s famous book came to life.  Good of course triumphed evil as the kind animals saved the children from harm and got rid of the nasty Croc for good making this a feel-good family musical. 

The company’s excellent ensemble cast who all fittingly (as it’s Christmas season) sung like angels and had that elusive star quality in abundance includes: Elliotte Williams-N’Dure (she/her) (Ursula, Unfortunate: The Untold Story of Ursula the Sea Witch) as the hungry Crocodile who was utterly outstanding in her role; Charis Alexandra (she/her) (Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, West End) as Trunky the Elephant; Lawrence Hodgson-Mullings (he/him) (Dick Whittington, National Theatre) as Humpy Rumpy the Hippopotamus; Philippa Hogg (she/her) (Peter Pan, National Theatre Productions) as the Roly Poly Bird; and Robyn Sinclair (she/they) (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Watermill Ensemble) as Muggle Wump the Monkey.    

The combination of strikingly beautiful animal costumes and a vibrant jungle set design both by Fly Davis (I Want My Hat Back, National Theatre; Ocean At The End of The Lane, National Theatre and West End) hit the perfect tone of being bold but not frightening (ideal for young audiences). We also laughed and laughed at the brilliantly silly puppetry designed by Toby Olié (Spirited Away, Imperial Theatre Tokyo; Pinocchio, National Theatre).

This is the perfect introduction into musicals for young theatre-goers. A must-see! Snap it up now!

It is on at the Leeds Playhouse until January 6th 2024 and transfers to Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in summer 2024. 

The Enormous Crocodile is running alongside Oliver! as part of Leeds Playhouse’s fun festive offering for families before that too transfers to Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre for their 2024 summer season. The production is part of a new slate of theatrical work from the Roald Dahl Story Company, which also includes a major new musical of The Witches at the National Theatre.  


We were kindly given complimentary tickets and wine (!). The review, as always is honest.  

All photos bar the one of my toddler at the top are credited to Manuel-Harlan.

Review of The Enormous Crocodile- The Musical Photo by Manuel-Harlan
Review of The Enormous Crocodile- The Musical Photo by Manuel-Harlan

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