Dinosaur Park

Theatre, Drama
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(3user reviews)
 (© Geraint Lewis)
1/5
© Geraint Lewis
 (© Geraint Lewis)
2/5
© Geraint Lewis
 (© Geraint Lewis)
3/5
© Geraint Lewis
 (© Geraint Lewis)
4/5
© Geraint Lewis
 (© Geraint Lewis)
5/5
© Geraint Lewis

A sweet, funny, sketchy homage to Spielberg's 'Jurassic Park'

‘Dinosaur Park’ roared into life at the Edinburgh Fringe last year (when it had the presumably more legally tenuous name ‘Jurassic Park’) and it is classic festival fodder. This is essentially a sketch show inspired by Spielberg’s 1993 blockbuster with some stand-up sets, dance routines and karaoke skits thrown in for good measure. It won’t change your life – but it will make you chuckle your human-hide off.

The framework is simple and a tad sentimental: a family gathers on the anniversary of their mother’s death to watch the much-loved ‘Jurassic Park’. The show is written and performed by members of Superbolt Theatre company and manages to be slick yet gloriously lo-fi and silly. There are no snazzy special effects. Instead, a rucksack is used to suggest the T Rex’s jaws, an umbrella is employed to brilliant effect and a pot plant becomes a dinosaur’s swishing tale.

The actors seem totally at home and it’s obvious the Edinburgh run has helped them to hone their skills. Frode Gjerløw makes for an amazingly awkward dad and his batty dinosaur impressions are a sight to be savoured. Maria Askew is all spiky sadness as daughter Jade and Simon Maeder endears as the wide-eyed younger brother. ‘Dinosaur Park’ is as much about team work as it is about the t-rex and the three bounce brilliantly off each other.

All the best moments are in here: Mr Arnold’s arm, the trembling water cup and the snotty scene in the tree.  Even the most ardent fans might miss a few in-jokes in this affectionate homage. Sure, there are a few schmaltzy scenes – but this is ultimately a brilliantly nutty and nostalgic affair.

By: Miriam Gillinson

Posted:

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Tastemaker

This was unexpectedly a better show that I thought.


If you think three people can’t re-enact Jurassic Park, you’d be wrong. Turns out all you need is a backpack, a ladle, some leaves and a scoop of imagination. It is truly hilarious and majorly entertaining.


But, as the play moves on, the most striking and interesting part is the true observation of a family in crisis. Portraying the broken dynamic inside of the household, the story becomes surprisingly poignant and touching…


An observant, funny play that I’d recommend to anyone!

Tastemaker

Went to this play on a whim, and thought it was excellent value for money (£10 a ticket). The remise of the play is a family having to re-enact Jurassic Park as the copy they were going to show disappeared (thought they would tie that in somehow but didn't). What ensued was some pretty hilarious situations, with the characters interacting with the audience a few times during the performance. 


The flashbacks seemed a bit strange at times and I felt like it didn't really expose a lot about the characters, although that being said you could clearly tell the personalities of each within the first 10 minutes or so. As mentioned in previous posts, there is really no 'finality' to it and it wraps up pretty fast...well I guess that's because they needed to be out by 10.30 :)


All in all a hilarious play, recommend if looking for something a bit different than your typical play, or simply a fan of the original film ^_^


Note: Studio seating is pretty much open seating, so if there is a large group of you may want to arrive a bit early to snag sneats. Do not worry there is a bar down there!

Tastemaker

Dinosaur Park is set in a community centre commemorating the one year death anniversary of the mother of Noah and Jade Park, and wife of ex-husband Terry Park, where the dysfunctional family decides to do a screening of Jurassic Park, her favourite film when she was still alive. Things don't go quite as planned when the tape is missing, so the family improvises and performs select scenes from Jurassic Park live. The creative re-interpretation is interspersed with scenes of the family's past and offers insight into each character and their relationship. Dinosaur Park is a very strange piece of theatre. It isn't quite comedy and isn't quite drama. For me, it was quite a frustrating piece of theatre because it never quite hit the climax of either comedy or drama, despite being nail-bitingly close to doing so. The dramatic flashbacks felt like mere glimpses into the characters' daily lives, but never quite into their emotional state, and there is a sense of controlled distance from the characters emotionally, and I could never quite get to the point of sympathy, despite clearly being able to see that we should be feeling some kind of emotional heartburn. By the time the play ended, I really wanted to see some kind of redemptive final scene, but ultimately, it felt almost forced and like I missed some revelatory scene which explains why there's a happy ending. 


Dinosaur Park succeeds at the comedic aspects much more than its dramatic aspects. There are some brilliantly inventive scenes in there, from the Tyrannosaurus chase scene to the re-enactment of the 'Mr DNA' educational video, showing off the group's skills at improv comedy. Even so, the comedy is mostly mined from the group ability to parody scenes from Jurassic Park, but lacks something organically funny. 

The play is best summed up in its brilliant but uncomfortable song about the sick Triceratops in Jurassic Park. It's a very cute song that by all means should be funny, but due to the fact that it's about their mother's death, it's hard to actually laugh, much like how the entire play is framed by an uncomfortable balancing act between comedy and drama.


I'm not too sure what I was expecting when I got tickets to see Dinosaur Park, but it was, despite my criticisms, still a pretty inventive piece of theatre and enjoyable night out. If you do get tickets to see this play, make sure you've watched Jurassic Park at least once and have it fresh in your mind, lest the scenes get completely lost on you.