The performance group Picked Last for Sport are an impressively multi-talented bunch of artists and they have created a delightful Fringe show with original songs, handmade puppets, charming characters and silly choreography. The songs are intelligently written and catchy, the stories are compelling, the jokes funny, the singing in tune with beautiful harmonies and they are all very good puppeteers. The theme of species extinction is fairly serious one, but the talented team of performers have found ways to make the show very funny and accessible.
We are welcomed into the room by a turtle who is on stage as we arrive. The first thing to impress me about Creatures Lost is the puppetry. Not spectacular but simple and extremely well done in a Muppet kind of way. The Dancing Dodos were wonderfully silly, and then the woolly mammoth came out to move our hearts and make us giggle, I think she was my fave because it was such a fantastically realised puppet and made from a woolly jumper. No, no… it’s more ingenious than you are imagining and one of the most gorgeously sung songs on the night. The Orangutan was also a truly showstopper of a puppet. It’s song was a lament and the performance suitably sweet and sad. The group was smart enough to have most of the humour play out around the already long-extinct animals and the poignant numbers were given to animals that are alive but endangered.
Creatures Lost is a cabaret show so is mostly made up of a collection of musical numbers which are all different in style and vibe but all about the same topic and amazingly pretty much all really entertaining and catchy. There are dance numbers that are simply and often amusingly choreographed. It’s actually hard to pick a highlight because they were all highlights. The T Rex Rap is the first funny song with fantastic dinosaur masks. The Sabertooth Tiger brings some 1960s GoGo to the stage, the Thylacine is a 1940s film Noir style jazzy mystery man and there is also a singing cowboy.
Despite the puppets this was not actually a “kids show” as such, but it is one you can take your kids to and they will love it as much as you do. The themes of animal extinction and climate change are very relevant but the show is only gently political and not too didactic. Yes, some of it is preaching to the converted, a Fringe audience at the Butterfly Club are unsurprisingly onside but I loved it anyway. There was a beautiful balance of the funny and the serious along with some very interesting true stories. I could see Creatures Lost as it is now easily touring schools and community groups successfully. This is not a highly polished production but it is a very entertaining one. The beautifully made puppets show that with a bit more money this wildly talented team could really do amazing things.
Creatures Lost is on at The Butterfly Club until September 22