No Daleks but lots of funny creatures in Anthony’s show

The Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie at Sheffield Lyceum Theatre on April 9 and Chesterfield Pomegranate Theatre on April 10.
The Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie at Sheffield Lyceum Theatre on April 9 and Chesterfield Pomegranate Theatre on April 10.

Anthony Spargo has played a Dalek on Doctor Who but the creatures he’s bringing to Sheffield are a lot friendlier.

Anthony is the co-writer of the Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie, a family show at the Lyceum this weekend.

The show was created for festivals and was originally presented from a converted horsebox by theatre company Les Enfants Terribles but has been adapted for the stage.

Anthony said: “As a company, we’re inspired by the films of Tim Burton and the design is solidly Gothic, Victoriana and steampunk.

“It’s a family show, aimed at ages six and over. The kids love it as it is full of puppets and songs.”

He’s made sure it appeals to adults too.

“It’s like when you watch The Simpsons – there are lots of gags that are only understood by an older person.

“It’s a warm, fantastical, buzzy show full of characters who are travelling around the world in their menagerie, collecting fantastical creatures.

“It’s a colourful attack on the senses in a fun way.”

The audience will meet the decapus, the massive paw, the bumblewasp, the Tresillian toad and the whistling pank.

There’s a bit of audience interaction too for some poor unsuspecting adults.

Anthony said: “It always gets a good reaction but not in a horrid way.

“We don’t drag people up on stage to humiliate them. It’s about them joining in and dressing up.”

Anthony has starred in other children’s show like Horrible Histories, so he knows all about madcap fun on stage.

As a writer he also worked with Enfants Terribles on a version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that took place in Victorian tunnels under Waterloo station in London.

The role that everyone asks him about, though, is his time as a Dalek on Doctor Who when David Tennant played the Timelord.

Anthony said: “The whole thing was the most amazing and surreal experience. We went down two days before we started filming to rattle around in these things.

“You’re doing a Fred Flintstone with your feet and there’s a little seat to sit down on.

“I’m 6ft 1in tall so it’s not the most comfortable experience, with your ‘egg whisk’ operated by one hand and your ‘sink plunger’ in the other.

“The first scene we did was fighting the Cybermen. You’re looking through a piece of gauze, because they don’t want anyone to see the people operating the Daleks, and all you could see is these guys dressed up as Cybermen. “It was great fun but really weird!”

Which sums up The Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie nicely.

The show is at the Lyceum on Saturday. Box office: 0114 249 6000 or Sheffield Theatres