“A show with so much heart mine nearly burst”
I was slightly worried, from the name, that this would be one of those overly geeky shows where the actors become a bit self-absorbed in being dinosaurs that they lose the plot – literally. Thankfully, this production strikes a wonderful balance between storytelling, humour and a moving tribute to one of the world’s best loved films.
It really is a show with everything – packed with laughs from start to finish, touching moments of tenderness, dinosaurs, family dramas, a ballad to the triceratops and even a Britney Spears dance break. More importantly, it’s performed with so much energy, love and conviction that one can’t help but be carried along with the fun.
The premise: a father (Terry) and his two children (Noah and Jade) welcome the audience to the village hall for a screening of their favourite family movie (Jurassic Park), as a tribute to Terry’s wife and the children’s mother Madeline, who died a year ago. What follows is a tale of a broken family, love, heartache… and dinsoaurs.
As a piece devised and performed by a Lecoq-trained company, it is understandably very physical, with each of the actors switching between human character, dinosaur and the cast of Jurassic Park with ease and finesse. Moments involving lifts and embodying the larger dinosaurs are particularly impressive, as is the creative use of props – who knew a rucksack could look quite so much like a Tyrannosaurus’s mouth?!
I would have liked to have seen the initial scene (in the village hall) developed throughout and have gotten to know the character of Madeline a bit better, perhaps at the sacrifice of one or two of the scenes involving the film’s reenactment. If any of these are intended to show parallels to the family’s story, the references are too subtle and disjointed to be effective. Some of the transitions between scenes also come across as somewhat forced, but in all other respects this show is hard to fault.
The cast work incredibly hard to deliver an hour of non-stop action, with personalities that really shine: Maria Askew as Jade is the perfect moody teenager, Frode Gjerløw is perhaps most impressive with his array of character changes, while Simon Maeder is just incredibly likeable – even while pretending to be a porn star!
This is a hilarious yet touching tale of one family’s coming to terms with grief through the medium of Jurassic Park, and I give it a roar of approval.
Reviewer: Steve Griffin (Seen 6 August)
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