date: 4 october 2013
Dinosaur Zoo is an interactive and educational show, suitable for all ages, by Australian company Erth. The show aims to animate the lesser known (but equally ferocious) dinosaurs that ruled in part of the Southern hemisphere which, we are informed, is referred to as Gordwanaland.
The young audience are encouraged to interact with narrator Australian zookeeper, Lindsey Chaplin, and her dinosaur puppets from the very start, especially, those sat in ‘The Danger Zone’ at the very front!
The show maintains a remarkable sense of surprise throughout – the lifelike dinosaur puppets move convincingly, easily fuelling a child’s curiosity, nervousness and amusement in equal measures. Lindsey is our host – her address to the audience is perfectly timed, her humour and friendly approach appealing to children and adults alike.
I attended with my dinosaur-obsessed 3 year old; who despite chattering all week about the show, lost his tongue when he entered the theatre, all wide eyed on seeing the stage set with hay bales and giant flora.
I could sense that many of the children were excited and apprehensive – not knowing what to expect. And although Lindsey explained that all of the dinosaurs in the show were puppets (and you could clearly see that they were being manned) – I think that many children forgot this fact early on, which added to the magic of the show.
Dinosaur Zoo, with interaction and science at its core, is very different from any of the other dinosaur shows that I have seen, and at just 55 minutes long it is perfect for the attention span of even very young children.
My only niggle lies with the staging of the show; due to the interactive element it would definitely have benefitted from being staged in the round or in a more intimate performance space. And from watching the trailer, this is what I was expecting.
However, Erth must have recognised this as being a potential issue and so overcame this by bringing all their dinosaurs out into the foyer after the performance, so that all of the children were able to get up close and personal with their favourite from the show.
If like me, you have a dinosaur obsessed child or one that you can borrow to accompany you, Dinosaur Zoo is well worth a visit!
Originally published by What’s on Stage in October 2013.