Fierce Creatures Review

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Zookeepers struggle to deal with the policies of changing directors.


According to its new owners, voracious international conglomerate Octopus, Marwood Zoo, deep in the heart of rural England, needs to turn a 20% profit or it's goodbye beasties, hello Japanese golf course.

But when hapless manager Rollo Lee's (Cleese) policy to exhibit only animals of a "fierce" nature is scuppered by his reluctant staff, ambitious Octopus execs Curtis and Kline's alternative is lurid advertising and panto-style animal costumes for the keepers.

Lob in innuendo, embezzlement and colossal misunderstanding and you've got the best elements of farce and sitcom rolled into one deliciously entertaining whole. Cleese is Fawlty in a zoo but it's a routine of enduring quality, Curtis is as assured and sultry as ever, and Kline has twice the fun in dual roles as obnoxious and flatulent Aussie billionaire Rod McCain, and his embittered son Vince — frequently venting bile-filled tirades, labelling Cleese "a giraffe in drag" and "a flamingo with a boner" among others.

Palin rounds out the reunion as insect expert Bugsy Malone, leading a wonderful ensemble cast of quirky keepers.

So what looked for all the world like it could be a disasterous let-down has emerged simple, funny and very enjoyable.