After a more than inspiring dialogue I reallly like this idea Phil.
The setting is indeed a travelling/gypsy circus of animals in Victorian times. The witchdoctor is using his camera (maybe part of it created by amber/crystals, traditionally used to trap spirits) to trap the souls of his audience and turn them into animals which he either consumes or leaves for his young daughter, being a lion tamer, to train and use for their shows. It is really important that she doesn't know about this scheme and after her mother oposed her husband, she disappeared mysteriously. The catalyst in the story is that the soul-trapping camera actually captures photos of the people halfway through transformation into animals. She finds the pictures and realises that the lion she tames is indeed her mother. The resolution is set in the restaurant tent where the fat witch doctor expects his dinner but actually finds himself with the camera pointed at him by his daughter. She clicks and in a flash of light he turns into a pig, surrounded by the angry predators, hungry for revenge.
Oooh the drama! I think all three essential parts of the brief are a big part of the story and it is inspiring. Feedback please :)