Attenborough and His Animals. Wilton’s Music Hall, 1 Grace Alley, London E1 to 3 September 2022. 2**. William Russell

Apparently this was a hit on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2019 and down under in the Adelaide Festival and in Perth in the following two years. What happens on the Fringe, however, should sometimes stay on the fringe. The gimmick is that David Attenborough has failed to turn up to deliver his expected talk about his animals which leaves those in charge of the evening in a quandary. What is to be done. They cannot show a video as there is no projector so one of them, the bloke, decides he will deliver what Attenborough should have delivered and his companion, female, can play all, or nearly all, of the animals. It is aimed, I think, at small persons although if it started on the Edinburgh fringe one would think it more like the audience would have consisted of grown ups. There is no denying that Jess Clough-MacRae and Jonathan Tilley who make up Clownfish Theatre have a gift for clowning and physical theatre, and Ms Clough-MacRae has an amazing larynx – her bird and animal vocal impersonations are outstanding – and Mr Tilley does a nice job pretending to be Sir David. He bumbles very well.

At 70 minutes with no interval it does not last all that long but it does outstay its welcome. However the small persons in he audience for what is said to be a family show by and large did not get too restless – there is, after all, pleasure to be had from watching grown ups behaving badly and very oddly. Trips to the loo were few. But for me it was 70 minutes out of my life I regret having spent.

Clown around they certainly do – populating the stage with everything from a blue whale to an orang utang to an octopus to a golden eagle to a praying mantis to a spider and a blue footed booby – and Sir David. But it remains a case of rather you than me.

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