Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie (4 stars)

This article is from 2015

Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie

Credit: Paul Blakemore

Chaotic sideshow capers prove another Fringe hit for Les Enfants Terribles

A trip to the zoo is all very well, but you’re unlikely to find anything there you haven’t seen before. Far better to pay a visit to Dr Longitude’s ‘Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie’, where you’ll encounter all manner of strange creatures – and that’s just the humans working there.

Known for its highly physical approach to storytelling, Les Enfants Terribles (an English theatre company, despite its name) has dreamt up a vaudevillian circus sideshow bursting with lesser-known curiosities from the animal kingdom.

But before we meet them, the dynamic team of five talented performers takes us on a journey, back in time to before Dr Longitude was born. There, we meet his father (played by a member of the audience, so watch out dads) who starts the menagerie his son will one day inherit.

Watching Dr Longitude Jnr and his assistants populate his menagerie is great fun. Off they journey, into the wilderness to bring back a Long-snouted Chuffalump, Bumble Wasp, Whistling Pank and the hard to locate Decapus among others. Each creature comes with its own adventure, with a range of bizarre props used to tell the tale of its capture.

The set, costumes and heavy make-up all conjure up the atmosphere of a Victorian travelling show, and as we become absorbed in this ridiculous but hugely enjoyable story, it’s as if we’ve entered a different era.

At first, the action, dialogue and song is so quick-fire (and often in rhyme) it’s tricky to keep up. But before long, you’ve entered their colourful world of crazy hats and animal masks, and can’t wait for the next adventure the charming, but slightly inept, doctor will take us on.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 31 Aug, 11am, £10.50--£13 (£9--£12.50).

The Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie

  • 4 stars

Les Enfants Terribles Roll up for the most magnifical, tremendible and fantasticulous experience in town! The caravan of curiosities and its crew of mysterious misfits have arrived to entertain, amuse and beguile. Join Dr Longitude in his quest to discover how many legs a decapus has? Is the fabled massive paw a myth? Has…