Charming dino-puppet fun for ages three and above
This review is from the 2018 Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre run for ‘Dinosaur World Live’. The show transfers to the Troubadour Wembley Park in 2019
The last time the beasts of the Mesozoic era descended upon Regent’s Park it was for ‘Dinosaur Zoo’, a puppet-based dino romp that was a lot of fun, albeit somewhat defined by its obstinate refusal to feature dinosaurs that weren’t from Australia (the show was in fact Australian, but dinosaur nationalism is a pretty weird concept).
Anyway, ‘Dinosaur World Live’ is a not dissimilar idea, except that the British show, written and directed by Derek Bond, isn’t afraid to give the audience what it wants – that is, a T-rex. In fact, there are two T-rexes, an adult and a baby, plus a brace of Triceratops and some semi-obscure additional dinos (Giraffatitan, Segnosaurus, Microraptor) that parents may or may not have heard of depending upon the extent of their children’s dino-love.
There’s a framing plot, which goes on a bit and may sail over the heads of smaller audience members, wherein perky Miranda (Elizabeth Mary Williams, with the squeaky-clean pep of a Butlin’s Redcoat) recounts how her family discovered a mysterious island full of living dinosaurs, which they are now exhibiting across the breadth of the UK in a larksome roadshow.
It’s a set-up to introduce us to a succession of lovably unruly puppet dinosaurs, beautifully designed by Max Humphries and manipulated by a versatile team of puppeteers overseen by Laura Cubitt. There’s a spot of audience interaction – feeding, grooming – and the noises and movement are convincing enough that a theatreful of tots raised on realistic CGI representations of dinosaurs unimaginable when I was a child appeared to have their disbelief fully suspended.
From the perspective of my three-year-old’s attention span, another dinosaur or two would have been ideal, at the expense of some of the chat. And a post-show meet-the-dinosaurs section could have been better stage managed. The baby Triceratops and baby T-rex got chaotically mobbed – though after five or so minutes, Miranda came out to restore some order. It’s undeniably a bit more rickety than some of the more monolithic dinosaur attractions that periodically call in on London, but ‘Dinosaur World Live’ has a genuine, up-close charm and is a perfect child-distractor for the remainder of the summer holidays.
|Venue name:||Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre|
Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre
|Price:||£16.50. Runs 50min|
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