This review was of the show's run at the Open Air Theatre in 2013. 'Dinosaur Zoo' returns to London, to the King's Cross Theatre in July 2015.
As a rule, Australians are brilliant just so long as you can make sure the topic of Australia never, ever comes up in conversation. But in this puppet-tastic kids’ show, our Antipodean cousins’ dewy-eyed patriotism is a definite plus. While it would take a jaded parent – let alone a child – to sigh at a stegosaur or tut at a triceratops, the fact is that the dinosaurs we learn about as kids tend to come from a fairly narrow selection of creatures dug up in the northern hemisphere.
So it’s a delight to come face to face with the genuinely unexpected in Australian company Erth’s thoroughly entertaining kids’ show, which shuns the obvious beasties and bring the little known likes of dryosaurus, australovenator, leaellynasaura and some sort of titanosaur to the stage. These are creatures which roamed the southern continent of Gondwanaland tens of millions of years ago, unaware of the antics of T.rex and those other guys.
Though it’s always entirely apparent that the dinos are being operated by two doughty blokes, they’re good-looking puppets, moving with all the grace of the ‘War Horse’ gang. From teeny adorable reptile babies to the monstrous carnivore that comprehensively freaked out one small volunteer, the crowd’s disbelief is suspended more than enough for us to believe we’re seeing lifelike replicas of these long-extinct beasties.
The show’s secret weapon, though, is a very living creature: sassy host Lindsey Chaplin presents the whole thing with a breezily morbid sense of humour that keeps the kids appropriately nervous and the parents suitably amused.
Average User Rating
4.2 / 5
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A very enjoyable show! Just enough terror for three little boys as the puppets look very lifelike and scary. Show was just long enough to leave them wanting more.
I thought the puppets and puppetry skills portrayed by Erth in Dinasour Zoo were exceptional. The children were entranced particularly by the large roaring model that toured the grounds afterwards to plenty of screams of delight. My only quibble was that the verbal information was sometimes a tad too long and required to be translated more into performance. Just a long stream of facts is NOT interesting and at one point when the dinasours came on the stage the girl introducer even commented that no-one was listening to her - true the puppets had understandably claimed the childrens interest. Putting the info into ryhm and adding music would have been a great improvement. So as an example of puppetry A* but as an overall performance piece not so great - ticket prices were overly ambitious too.
Went with my daughter and 2 grandchildren. Walked there through Regents Park which was pleasant. Then had to queue for 1 hour to get in, which we expected especially in the school holidays. What a disappointment to all of us not a great deal of animals that one would expect from a world famous zoo. The food and drinks are expensive as is the entrance fee. The only experience enjoyed by all of us was walking through the enclosure of the squirrel monkeys, one tried to grab my daughters mobile phone whilst she was taking a photo of it. My advice spend your money on Longleet much more value for money and you get to feed certain animals.
If you can get it on a family ticket it's good value, it's very good for the younger kids I'd say it suited under 8's to be honest. The puppeteers are excellent at what they do and the puppets are amazing. Worth seeing once in your lifetime
I took my wife, 4 and 5 year old to see the show last week. It was a fun show but now "blow my mind" amazing. There were some scared "volunteers" on stage and lots of humour directed at adults. My kids liked it but the best bit was meeting the dinosaurs back stage. I was disappointed not to be able to find the advertised £50 family tickets and ended up paying £80 for the 4 of us. It's worth it if you can afford £80 for 1 hour, definitely worth it for £50!