Spotlight: Doctor Dolittle

Joan Marcus

You don't have to be seven to appreciate Dr. Dolittle. This special effects-driven production, which opened this week at Ordway Center, closely models the enchanting 1967 film of the same name (rather than the 1998 dud starring Eddie Murphy) and uses space-age spectacle to recreate Dolittle's light-handed animal-rights manifesto. Directed by Glenn Casale, the brains behind Ordway's recent staging of Peter Pan, which featured an overgrown and rather psychedelic Neverneverland, Dolittle uses marionettes, puppets, and costumed actors to play the doctor's furry and four-legged friends, including Polynesia the parrot, Push-Me-Pull-You the two-headed llama, and the giant Pink Sea Snail. Every over-the-top production needs its own campy soundtrack, and this show leaves the movie's wiggy score largely intact. It includes such melodic gems as Dolittle's half-hearted anthem "Vegetarian" (he pauses to whiff some sizzling sausage links) and a catchy reprise for the veterinarian who talks with the animals, "Never Seen Anything Like It."

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