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Animal magic

Bryony Lavery's new play Down Among the Mini-Beasts provides a worthwhile trip to the Polka theatre in Wimbledon for five- to seven-year-olds. The story is a blissfully simple account of what happens to a little girl who is accidentally shrunk to the size of a midge and spends an afternoon among the caterpillars, dung-beetles and ants in her family's vegetable patch.

Children will absorb a lot of information about the insect world - such as how grasshoppers listen with their knees and how camouflage works - while being entertained with songs and jokes as well as reminded of the advantages of human love and friendship.

Anyone older than seven may be irritated by the banality of the songs' lyrics, the rudimentary dancing and a tendency to over-emphasise by some of the actors. Adults will enjoy the costumes - particularly the caterpillar with antennae which light up and the dung beetle which hums the Oasis hit "You've gotta roll with it" while collecting rolls of muck to feed its 47,000 children.

Down Among the Mini-Beasts runs until April 6. Tickets: 0181 543 4888.

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