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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 May 2006, 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK
Crowds join 'elephant' spectacle
Elephant showers girl

Crowds have flocked to Trafalgar Square to watch the fairytale of the Sultan's Elephant on day three of a four-day street theatre spectacle.

Londoners brushed cynicism aside to see the story play out between a mechanical elephant, the height of a three-storey house, and a huge puppet girl.

As the odd couple paraded through London, the elephant chomped on leaves to the delight of children and adults.

Several roads were closed and visitors were advised to take public transport.

The show began on Thursday morning with the appearance of a crashed spaceship - out of which the 5m (16ft) tall mechanical girl emerged - in Waterloo Place, off Pall Mall.

Jules Verne inspiration

The girl puppet spent last night asleep in a giant deckchair in Horse Guard's Parade, with passers-by able to hearing her snoring.

When she awoke, the 42-tonne giant elephant, made of hundreds of moving parts, showered her in water before she changed out of her nightie and into a green dress.

Children balance on puppet's arms
Children join the puppet girl on a tour of London

They then paraded through the streets of London and spent the afternoon dozing in Trafalgar Square watched by thousands of people despite the rain.

By 1815 BST they are due back at Horse Guard's Parade for bedtime music before falling asleep at 2000 BST.

The project is the brainchild of one of France's leading street arts company, Royal de Luxe.

The Sultan's Elephant has been four years in the planning and is said to be inspired by the stories of Jules Verne, author of Around the World in 80 Days.

The event is being funded mainly by Arts Council England and the London Development Agency.

Police advised motorists not to use the routes around Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly and Regent Street over the weekend and expect some closures in The Mall and Horse Guard's Road.

See the mechanical elephant walking through London

Mechanical elephant visit looms
04 May 06 |  London


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