CATS and dogs reign in a stage adaptation of the long-running children's book series Hairy Maclary at the Drum Theatre next month.
The book's author Lynley Dodd had no hand in writing and staging the adaptation Hairy Maclary and Friends but retains the right to correct any straying from the book's intentions.
The New Zealand writer told the Weekly there was a special pleasure in seeing her books played out in front of an audience of children.
"It's tremendous fun. It's the best thing being in an audience with children. There's plenty of audience involvement. They love to shout out and give answers."
The show, which has sold out at the Sydney Opera House and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, is produced by Scottish company Nonsense Room Productions.
Dodd says the main difficulty for the company was re-creating her characters as "human dogs".
"They had to produce costumes that fit the actors and at the same time look right."
The show relies on narration because her animals don't talk - not that the motley crew lack character.
Dodd says the cast, including Dalmatian Bottomley Potts (who's "covered in spots") and dachshund Schnitzel von Krumm ("with the very low tum"), are loosely based on animals she's known.
The book series has stretched to 20 volumes, including a recently released book about mischievous black cat Slinky Malinki.
From the outset, the award-winning author was intent on making the books' rollicking rhymes a good read for adults as well as children.
"As a child I loved the musicality of language. It's got to be fun and have rhythm."
Hairy Maclary and Friends is at the Drum on September 28. Bookings: 97716666.