Tucked away in a decently sized room at the beautiful venue of Summerhall,
Eaten is both fun and conceptually thoughtful.
Eaten challenges the children in the audience to learn about food, where it comes from and where it goes, and challenges the adults to listen to a character called Dr. Poop, as the children of the audience shriek with laughter.
The show follows Lionel, a lion who, against the opinion of his species, just wants to be a vegetarian. However, he gets so hungry that he has to eat Mamoru, our other main character. Lionel, of course, regrets having to eat a human, and is relieved, as is the audience, to find out that Mamoru is okay. Lionel then proceeds to become friends with Mamoru, in a bizarre backwards world that highlights how bizarre it is to watch a human be eaten, when we watch humans eat all time.
All of this is demonstrated through very amusing puppetry and well-designed costumes. Within Lionel, the costume, was not only Mamoru and his Dr. Poo outfit, but also digestive tract diagrams and a cow puppet. They were all wonderfully fun and cartoonish. The performers deftly used these costumes, props and puppets in amusing and hilarious ways. At one point, Dr. Poop appeared out of a zipper in Lionel the lion’s bottom. The children were hysterically laughing. This was clearly their favorite part.
A few children were invited onto the stage and participated in the production by asking questions about Dr. Poop and where he came from. It was this moment that showed the show came across well to the children and they had learned something.
Lionel the lion and his narrator/companion Mamoru teach children and grown-ups all about why it is important to pay attention to what you eat. They welcome you into the surprisingly charming world of food chains. The show focuses on the fact that you are not only what you eat, but also that what you eat, eats. Since Lionel has eaten Mamoru, who has eaten a cow, who has eaten a daisy, Lionel is also a daisy. Without being preachy or being too like an overly educational TV show the substitute teacher shows while the teacher is out, Eaten is both fun and conceptually thoughtful.