ChildrensComedyFamilyNorth East & YorkshirePerformance ArtReview

Dinosaur Park – The Civic, Barnsley

Writers: Maria Askew, Simon Maeder, Frode Gjerløw and Tid

Director: Tid

Reviewer: Ruth Jepson

1990 – Jurassic Park is written by Michael Crichton. 1993 – Jurassic Park is made into a film by Stephen Spielberg. 2015 – Superbolt Theatre has a sell-out show at the Edinburgh Fringe with Dinosaur Park, a physical, frantic and bloody hilarious parody retelling of the franchise that made every seven-year-old want to bea palaeontologist.

The premise is simple – a father and his two children plan a memorial for their mother one year on, by doing a screening of her favourite film. But the tape is misplaced, the audience is waiting, and so Dinosaur Park is born. Terry (Frode Gjerløw), Jade (Maria Askew) and Noah (Simon Maeder) act out the key scenes with whatever props come to hand, in between flashbacks to their rather more complicated everyday lives.

The dinosaur bits of Dinosaur Park are obviously what the audience are here for. And they are so worth it – from the umbrella frill of the dilophosaurus and the backpack beheaded tyrannosaurus. The actors caricature the familiar characters brilliantly, especially Maeder’s bug-eyed Muldoon and Askew’s uber cool Malcolm. The physical movements are both accurate and laughter inducing, and the actors are clearly having as much fun as the audience. Of particular delight to any 90s kid, is the Mortal Kombat style Lex/Raptor face off. The actors are not afraid to interact with the audience, which results in some solid emersion and engagement.

Less successful are the slightly shoe-horned in sentimental scenes of family life after a bitter divorce. They’re very well acted, and you really will have your heart being wrenched apart, but they just feel like they belong in a different show. They’re not really resolved by the unfortunately rather hurried ending, and it’s not entirely clear what they’re meant to achieve. More development to tie these two stories together is needed.

But forget about that, brush up on the famous quotes, and just enjoy recapturing the thrill of the first time you saw the T-rex step out of the fences.

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The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Mark Clegg. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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