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A family try to get through their grief via the medium of the film 'Jurassic Park' in this winning DIY comedy
A mini theme of this year’s Fringe would appear to be ’90s screen nostalgia: ‘Come with Me if You Want to Live’ is obsessed with ‘Terminator 2’, ‘Ross & Rachel’ comes laden with sly ‘Friends’ references and er, you don’t need to have a film PhD to suss out which Steven Spielberg smash ‘Jurassic Park’ takes its cues from.
Devised by young company Superbolt Theatre, ‘Jurassic Park’ is a bittersweet DIY story about a damaged family trying to heal itself via the medium of the highest grossing film of 1993.
The setting is the Lyme Regis Community Centre, at a memorial to the late mother of pie-eyed Noah (Simon Maeder) and cynical Jade (Maria Askew), and the ex-wife (by divorce) of awkward, guilt-ridden Terry (Frode Gjerlow).
The plan is to play her favourite film of all time, ‘Jurassic Park’. Unfortunately, they’ve lost the tape of the film. But the irrepressible Noah will not be stopped, and decides he’s going to recreate the film himself. What follows is a delightful blend of scenes in which the entirely ill-equipped family try to recreate a gargantuan Hollywood blockbuster with… basically nothing, intercut with increasingly poignant flashbacks to Noah and Jade’s childhood (heading in reverse through custody battles, divorce, separation, and blissful family togetherness). And there are even scenes that combine both – revolving around a schoolteacher called Mr Muldoon.
The ‘Jurassic Park’ stuff is often funny, but really the show’s heart is as a touching family drama about four people – one deceased – who loved each other but just couldn’t make it work. Gjerlow is clearly at least 20 years too young to play Terry, but his gruff pain is the show’s anchor – it’s a lovely turn (as are the other two). It’s definitely not perfect – some of the film scenes don't quite work, and it ends rather abruptly – but this is the sort of inventive, uncynical show that you’d have to be a real monster to resist.