This article is from 2008.
Quirky and educational, Animal Olympics explores how Chinese astrology began. Francesca Beard, known for her performance poetry, puts a lot of energy into portraying the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac as curious individuals. After slipping on her 'magic pants' and becoming her alter ego Mei-Lin, she lays a shiny blue sheet over a table to represent a river.
As legend goes, the first twelve animals that crossed the river would form the Chinese calendar. From a bright red box, Beard pulls out a series of stuffed animals: a rat, an ox, a tiger, a dragon, a sheep, a monkey . . . and a cat! As each animal tells their story, Beard adopts a series of funny voices and bends the toys' limbs into human-like postures. A little slow to start and lacking in humour at times, energetic songs and frequent audience participation still conspire to make this an enjoyable show.
Assembly @ George Street, 623 3030, until 25 Aug (not 11), 11.30am, £9--£10 (£8--£9).