The Bear Necessities 

Forget about your worries

Although based on Rudyard Kipling's story collection The Jungle Book, Disney's film adaptation of the work avoided most of its darker elements. Mowgli's still a man-cub abandoned in the jungle, Shere Khan the tiger's out to kill him, and Baloo the bear does his fun-lovin' best to teach the kid to survive, but the atmosphere leans more toward the fun and adventure of it than to cold "law-of-the-jungle" reality. It's a kids' film, unabashedly and joyously, but the songs are quite a bit of fun for adults, too. Honestly, who doesn't love King Louie's "I Wanna Be Like You?" It swings and it soars, baby. The stage version of the work is even more kid-ready — at a tidy 55 minutes and packed with songs and charming costumes, the Stages St. Louis production of Disney's The Jungle Book is a great introduction to live theater for the smaller set (and you'll probably tap more than a few toes yourself). Showtime is 11 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday (August 6 through 17) at the Robert G. Reim Theatre (111 South Geyer Road, Kirkwood; 314-821-2407 or www.stagesstlouis.org). Tickets are $12 to $16.
Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: Aug. 6. Continues through Aug. 17, 2008

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