Review of BGT's New Show, Katonga

Busch Gardens Tampa: Jason Moore takes a look at the Tampa park's newest attraction.

From Jason Moore
Posted April 19, 2004 at 11:30 AM
An unexpected day off allowed my fiance and I the opportunity to head up to Tampa yesterday. We spent a couple hours cooling off at Adventure Island, then headed over to BGT for some rides. Crowds were deffinitely manageable, and seemed oddly dispersed. For example, we walked right on to Montu with a 10 minute wait, but when we tried to ride the Congo River Rapids (we often avoid the water rides, but since we still had swimsuits on for the water park thought today would be a good day for them) the wait there was an insane 45 minutes.

The last thing we decided to do was catch the 5:30 showing of Katonga. Unfortunately, by the time we got back around to the theater the floor level was full and we were directed to the balcony. Not bad seats, but view was somewhat obstructed due to the angle of looking down on things.

The basic premise of the show is that a "master story teller" has gathered 4 other story tellers, each known as the best in their region. Each of these 4 gets the opportunity to tell their best story. The first story involved people in monkey suits doing acrobatics, the the story teller sang a song that sounded a great deal like "Don't Worry, Be Happy." The second story was about a caterpillar trying to discover his place in the world. This scene utilized large bug costumes under black lights. Next up was a tale about a bullfrog learning how to listen to the other animals around him and croak in harmony. The music this time was very distinctly "Talk to the Animals" from the old Dr. Doolittle. Finally, the most impressive vocalist of the group told a tale about a flood and impressed everyone with her singing. In the end they all learn that it's not a competition to see who has the best story, but that collectively they are all part of the same story.

Overall I was impressed with the show. The sets, costumes and other production values were quite good for a theme park show. The cast was very good, especially the final story teller. The only problems I saw were with the actual stories. The scenes were all good, but I found it hard to follow a disinct "story" in some of them. It also bugged me a little that to have the songs be knock-offs of other well known pieces, but that could just be me. There was also one technical problem i noticed where a curtain got stuck and would fly up all the way. Thankfully this was after the final scene and only obstructed our view during the finally. I don't blame them for this, as these things do happen. It is live theater after all and the show must go on. The cast handled it like pros and did the best they could to reposition themselves and finish the show as if nothing was wrong.

I would definitely reccomend this show on your next visit to BGT.

From Jason Moore
Posted April 20, 2004 at 7:21 AM
had I known Joe was gonna offer up his review the same day as mine I would have just saved my comments for that thread. I'll just fade away now................

From Joe Lane
Posted April 20, 2004 at 7:33 AM
No problem, Jason.

That's the burden I carry waiting for Tuesday to publish these things. There's always a chance someone can beat me to the punch. I personally found your review very insightful--and if there's one thing we want to encourage, it's that other folks share their opinions and reviews of attractions and shows.

In short, it's all good. :-)

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