ANIMALS (4 stars)

Animals

credit: Jassy Earl

Clever and funny family show explores childhood emotions through our connection with animals

If you had to compile a 'top 5' of things kids love, animals and other children would come very high on the list. So ANIMALS creator, Greg Sinclair knew what he was doing when he filmed a group of 6-year-olds talking about their experience of the animal kingdom.

The footage from visits to three Perthshire primary schools forms the bedrock of this funny, touching and imaginative show for under 9s, in which Sinclair and co-performer Hannah Venet embody all manner of creatures.

Pulling on fake fur coats and sunglasses, the duo are cool cats lounging around the stage; primping their hair they become show dogs; or putting on woolly hats and comic expressions, they're a pair of confused sheep. Each time, an audio commentary from the aforementioned 6-year-olds gives the pair a real-life story to re-enact – with sad or hilarious consequences.

Aside from strong performances, which have all ages laughing out loud, and an imaginative set featuring a large swing and slide, ANIMALS goes beyond the cute and cuddly to look at the reality of everyday life. As the audio and visual footage was gathered outside the city, we hear children talking not just about dogs, cats and goldfish, but cows and lambs they regularly come into contact with.

And, as in life, not all the stories have a happy ending. Death is part of life, but so is joy – and this show perfectly captures both.

Animals

Using real and imagined stories collected from six-year-olds, Greg Sinclair and Hannah Venet use animals to help children explore and express their own complicated emotions through a combination of live music, dance and film.

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