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DOCTOR DOLITTLE Musical: Book, music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse: Based on the Doctor Dolittle stories by Hugh Lofting. London Apollo, Hammersmith - 29 June, 1998 SYNOPSIS ACT ONE Our story begins with the Prologue of Dr. Dolittle. Dr. John Dolittle's parrot, Polynesia, proclaims that the doctor has a philosophy: animals can be friends. We follow Polynesia to a quaint West of England fishing village where we are introduced to the villagers of the town and Matthew Mugg, Dr. Dolittle's best friend. Matthew reveals shocking news - there has recently been a murder and the town's citizens are eagerly anticipating a trial filled with mistaken identity, love, and betrayal. As lights come up on the Puddleby Courtroom of Puddleby England, in 1837, General Bellowes reads aloud the charge brought forth on Dr. John Dolittle: murdering an unknown woman by throwing her off a cliff into the Bristol Channel. Dolittle proclaims it is a misunderstanding, however, and that the woman is actually a seal named Sophie. The doctor explains that the seal wished to go to the North Pole to see her husband. When General Bellowes and the angry mob become skeptical of the claim, Dr. Dolittle goes on to explain his history with animals. A flashback commences; we are taken to Dolittle's study, as he is treating an elderly patient named Aubrey Dymme-Witt. Upon Aubrey's abrupt exit, Dolittle considers his prospects as an animal doctor rather than people doctor. With a little help from his trusty sidekick, Polynesia, Dr. Dolittle imagines what it would be like to interact with tigers, cheetahs, and other exotic creatures. We transition back into the courtroom as the trial resumes. General Bellowes, who is still rather skeptical, calls his own feisty British bulldog to the stand. Following Dr. Dolittle's cross-examination and bark translation, Rufus exits and Matthew Mugg takes the stand in defence of his best friend. Tommy Stubbins, a 10-year old local boy, promptly bursts into the courtroom with his sick duck, Dab-Dab, and begs for Dolittle's help. A flashback commences; we are joined by Matthew Mugg, on a stormy night, on the Oxenthorpe Road near Puddleby-In-The-Marsh. Matthew encounters Tommy Stubbins desperately seeking help for a duck who has broken its wing. Matthew, after careful consideration, brings Tommy and the duck to Dr. John Dolittle. As Polynesia prepares pork sausage dinner for Dolittle's guests, the doctor declines the pork insisting that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends. Tommy, Matthew, and the others settle down to sleep out the storm and have a peaceful night of rest. At early dawn, the guests are awoken by Dolittle - it's time for the morning clinic. A young woman named Emma Fairfax enters with an injured fox. Emma, the doctor comes to find out, is the niece of General Bellowes; a man that Dr. Dolittle particularly dislikes. An argument ensues and Emma promptly storms out. drd1Back to the trial at the Courthouse, General Bellowes and the doctor are engaging in a heated conversation. Although the General still doubts that the story of Sophie the seal is true, he allows John Dolittle to explain how he came into possession of Sophie. The doctor proclaims it all began when he received a big box from a friend in Tibet. A flashback commences; we find Dr. Dolittle in his garden with Tommy, Polynesia, and Matthew. The delivery of the box brings great curiosity and an even greater discovery - it's the two headed llama, the Pushmi-Pullyu! With the exotic creature in their possession and an incentive for monetary gain, Dolittle travels to Blossom's Mammoth Circus. When circus owner Albert Blossom sees the rare animal, he can't believe his eyes. After a few moments of haggling, John and Blossom strike a deal and the circus act is set. Next we find the doctor and his gang at the circus encampment, counting their earnings of thirty-eight