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A spectacular eye-catching finale to the open air theatre season at Lytham Hall next summer is in prospect as the August family show is now confirmed.

Illyria will bring their production of The Adventures of Dr. Dolittle to the Hall on Bank Holiday Sunday 26 August and are promising an appealing range of animal characters, including the mythical two-headed PushmiPullyu.

The 13 Dr. Dolittle books were written by Hugh Lofting between 1920 and 1952 and were subsequently adapted for the cinema with Rex Harrison, in 1967, and Eddie Murphy, in 1998, in the title role.

Julian Wilde, organiser of the outdoor season, has been in touch with Eddie Murphy’s office in Beverly Hills, California, requesting the endorsement of the American comedian for the Illyria show.

“For many people Dr. Dolittle and Eddie Murphy are synonymous after the world-wide success of his films. I have written to his agent Jim Wiatt asking if Eddie can send us a message of support.

We have had endorsements previously from Kate Winslet, Colin Firth, Dame Judi Dench and, last year, Lesley Garrett for our programme of plays, so my fingers are crossed that Eddie Murphy will do the same.”

Illyria drew the largest audience of their 80 date nationwide tour to Lytham Hall for their performance of The Emperor’s New Clothes last August and artistic director Oliver Grey is already looking forward to his cast returning to Lytham Hall in front of a bumper Bank Holiday audience.

“Hugh Lofting set his stories in Puddleby-in- the-Marsh in Victorian times, with a wide range of animals interacting with the unusual Dr. Dolittle. It will be a major challenge adapting it for the stage and I am sure the Lytham audience, especially the children, will enjoy the chance to engage with the actors.”

Julian Wilde feels that Illyria’s acclaimed inventiveness is sure to produce an eye-catching show.

“The books and films with characters such as Polynesia the Parrot, Dub Dub the duck and Too-Too the Owl, not to mention the amazing PushmiPeullyu, are immensely appealing to children and this kind of show is right up Illyria’s street. I think it will make a wonderful finale for our summer season.”

Ticket for Dr. Dolittle and the other four shows in the Lytham Hall season will go on sale at the start of May.

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