Animals in London theatre
Explore our spotter's guide to West End fauna for animal fans (big and small)
Without animal actors, mechanical creatures and actors dressed as animals, the West End's theatres would be dreary, joyless places indeed. In the month we waved a sad goodbye to the piggy star of 'Betty Blue Eyes' and congratulated 'The Lion King' on its twelfth birthday, Charlotte Lytton offers up a guide to stage animals in London.
Species: Lions, birds and other jungle creatures.
Date of birth: A Disney creation dating back nearly 20 years, Simba and his motley crew now have a combined age of several thousand. Mufasa may have had an untimely demise, but the circle of life continues.
Pedigree: Having just celebrated its twelfth birthday, 'The Lion King' is now the longest running animal musical on the West End stage after its feline contemporary 'Cats' bowed out a decade ago. The cast use a variety of masks to evoke a jungle feel and bring the film to life, with some actors spending hours in make-up to transform them into the dwellers of Pride Rock.