THE audience attending comedy Doctor Dolittle was hoping to have some pre-festive fun with tactlessly truth-telling talking animals ­— but in the event some of it failed to connect.

The new tour of this classic story at The Lowry Theatre, is based on the stories by Hugh Lofting and which was turned into a film starring Eddie Murphy.

This extravagant Christmas show for all ages, is headed by Mark Williams as the doctor who sets out to discover the Giant Pink Sea Snail (and when you get to see it, it’s enormous!).

It holds the secret of life and makes the world a happier place.

Not only is the snail magical but so are all the other creatures who help in the hunt.

The imaginative puppets are created by Nick Barnes and Jimmy Grimes.

Their puppets are the real stars as they are designed with such attention to detail.

Among the best, are Polynesia, the Parrot. voiced in broad Lancashire by former Coronation Street star Vicky Entwistle, one of Polynesia’s manipulators, Pushmipullyu, a two headed beast and Jip, the old English sheepdog.

As for the humans, Mark Williams, has a remarkable voice especially when he sings When I look into your Eyes, a love song to a seal.

Most of the songs are sung with energy but I don’t think they will stay that long in the memory.

The set changes, and the timing of the actors is immaculate but, sadly, emotional contact with the audience is lacking.

This is a shame for the adults, but even more so for the many children who attend.

If some of the animals had spoken directly to them, it would have livened things up.

Emma Fairfax, a female interest for Dr Dolittle is delightfully performed by Mollie Melia-Redgrave. Being more into animals than people, he gives his blessing to her pairing up with Mattthew Mugg (Patrick Sullivan) a cheeky chappie who joins their travels.

Well directed by Christopher Renshaw, the show is performed by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe) Ltd.

* Dr Dolittle, the Musical, is at the Lowry until Saturday, January 5. For tickets, telephone the Lowry Box Office on 0843 208 6000.

Star rating: * * *