The great early 20th-century stage and screen comedian WC Fields warned performers never to work with children or animals.
Russian theatre director Dmitry Krymov admits to being a little nervous because he does both in his production for the Perth International Arts Festival.
Krymov has cast 14 WA youngsters and a Jack Russell terrier to add to his 34 acrobats, puppeteers, musicians and magicians in his most untraditional take on A Midsummer Night's Dream.
"This is very dangerous and we have a new dog, a local dog," he said of his key recruit after quarantine laws kept his shaggy Russian performer at home.
"In Moscow, we have a very fabulous circus dog and it can do almost everything.
"Here we have a fabulous dog but we cannot tell what it will do when it sees the audience for the first time."
A Midsummer Night's Dream (As You Like It) strips Shakespeare's comedy down to the last few pages to focus on the bumbling "rude mechanicals" play-within-a-play, the silly love story of Pyramus and Thisbe.
Two floppy 4m puppets portray Pyramus and Thisbe and chaos ensues as a gaggle of performers, technicians and a mock audience try to get ready for the tale of the world's first romance.
Krymov was uncertain how the show would go down with Perth audiences.
"This is a very unusual concept and it is our first time here," he said.
"We are nervous."
Aspiring Perth dancers aged eight to 12 also will perform in the show under the guidance of Steps Youth Dance Company artistic director Alice Lee Holland.
"They are very excited," Holland said.
by Stephen Bevis, au.news.yahoo.com, 14.02.2014