Haven’t you heard, Gleeks, Smash addicts and Broadway mavens? T. rex claws are the new jazz hands. Said scaly appendages come out early in this monstrously funny riff on Jurassic Park, from the dinosaurs’ point of view—but don’t think the producers blew the budget on realistic velociraptor costumes. Instead, actors in colorful tights and sneakers depict the primordial beasts, looking more like a bus-and-truck revamp of Pippin than a pack of flesh-ravening giant reptiles. Broad, sassy, jammed with jokes and acted with campy abandon, Triassic Parq will leave you higher than a flock of pterodactyls.
Jointly foisted on an unsuspecting culture by Marshall Pailet, Bryce Norbitz and Stephen Wargo, the show (which premiered at 2010’s Fringe Festival) goes to great lengths to achieve and maintain extreme levels of silliness. Our narrator is the crisply deadpan Lee Seymour, who identifies himself as Morgan Freeman (Seymour is quite white) and goes on to be misidentified as Samuel L. Jackson. In an average musical, you get one or two strategically placed “I want” numbers. Triassic seems to have about six; that’s one hungry critter.
The book follows the basic premise behind Michael Crichton’s novel and the movie adaptation: Genetically resurrected dinosaurs whose DNA has been spliced with other animals are confined in a theme park on an island off Costa Rica. In order to control the population, only females have been grown, but soon, some beasts start developing male sexual characteristics, making them horny as a triceratops.
A very talented and hardworking cast puts across the goofball material with exemplary zeal and precision. Even if the spoofy supersketch begins to lose steam in its final 15 minutes, these fine actors never flag. Let’s hope Triassic Parq doesn’t become extinct anytime soon.—David Cote
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