Zog and The Flying Doctors: A Fantastic Flight of Theatrical Fancy

When it comes to Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler book to theatre adaptations, Freckle Productions undoubtedly have the Midas touch. The latest production is no exception. Zog and the Flying Doctors - the sequel to the enormously successful Zog is a theatrical triumph.

The plot faithfully follows that of the book, with embellishments and musical digressions along the way. Zog (played by Ben Raymond), an ultra-enthusiastic dragon student turned air-ambulance, together with his Flying Doctor crew - Princess Pearl (Lois Glenister) and Gadabout (Alex Bloomer) attend to a variety of patients. These include a sunburnt, moany mermaid, a ‘duocorn’ (a unicorn with an extra horn), and a lion with the flu. Zog’s propensity to land with a ‘crash-bang-thump’ lands the trio in a tricky situation when they find themselves at Pearl’s uncle’s house. Pearl’s uncle (Danny Hendrix) - who happens to be the King, has strong ideas about whether princesses ought to be doctors, and is not afraid to express them! To her dismay, Pearl finds herself locked up in a castle, wearing a crown and a ‘silly frilly’ dress. Gadabout and Zog go on a quest to rescue Pearl and help her prove the King wrong.

In many ways, the plot of Zog and the Flying Doctors is meatier than the original story, and is perfect for the stage adaptation. There is so much material to play with, even before the creative team, led by Emma Kilbey and Joe Stilgoe, have added their artistic genius, peppering the show with delicious comedic gems that will mostly go over the children’s heads, but appeal hugely to the adults accompanying them. I especially enjoyed Princess Pearl’s allusion to her crochet emporium on Etsy, and the reference to the NHS (‘National Horn Service’). There is so much to delight here: rapping rabbits, cheesy jokes (‘can you Brie-lieve it’), and a healthy dose of audience participation. The music is fabulous throughout. There are some delicious contrapuntal melodies, some rousing heart-felt choruses, and downright hilarious libretto (all the adults in the audience were hooting along to the song ‘Follow the Science’, which contained the phrase ‘tested, traced, and tracked’).

Based on my sample audience of two (girls aged four and two), this will be a big hit with any young people. I saw some older children in the audience, whose initial apathy - presumably they had been dragged along with younger siblings - evaporated almost instantly, and the entire audience was dancing in the aisles by the end of this joyous, exuberant production.

Zog and the Flying Doctors will be touring the UK between February and August, 2022. For tickets, and to book, please visit


Elisabeth Rushton

Elisabeth has over 15 years of experience as a luxury lifestyle and travel writer, and has visited over 70 countries. She has a particular interest in Japan and the Middle East, having travelled extensively around Saudi Arabia, Oman, Jordan, and the UAE. A keen skier, she has visited over fifty ski resorts around the world, from La Grave to Niseko. She writes about a broad spectrum of subjects...(Read More)

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