by Erth Visual & Physical Inc.
Phoenix Theatre Charing Cross Road WC2H 0JP To 12 January.
10.30am 3-7, 10-15, 17-24, 27-31 Dec, 2-5, 8-12 January.
12.30pm 15, 22, 29 Dec, 2, 5, 12 Jan.
2pm 13, 18, 20, 24 Dec.
TICKETS: 0844 871 7629
thenTour to 24 April 2014.
Runs 55min No interval.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 1 December.
Awesome Aussie antiques road-show.
Everyone’s come to see Tyrannosaurus Rex. But nobody will. This is about Australasian creatures. T Rex was a local tribe in what’s now the north-west USA (they must have sensed Hollywood would be coming)
Dinosaur Zoo, a lecture-demonstration from Australia’s Erth Visual & Physical Inc, goes for fun, from dinosaur jokes to monster appearances. It has moments of dino-pantomime as a couple of Leaellynasaurus squabble or various types bite any human rear-end in sight. It’s also well-geared to intelligences of 3+ and is informative for anyone, baring dinosaur teeth and explaining why plants were so important to these creatures.
Creatures small and large – from the Dryosaurus, so cuddly the creatures pose with audience-members for photos in the foyers afterwards, to the Titanosaurs, so large it can only peer over the scenery – vegetarian and carnivorous emerge as active, expertly-handled puppets. These creatures behave in a believable way, sharing water from a bowl, being hypnotised by an audience volunteer (with a technique that can apparently be applied to chickens), or rejecting the animal guts another young person offers because of a problem that needs some searching-out.
Despite the interest of what’s being said, the human voice is overwhelmed once a flight of giant ancient dragonflies, the Meganeura, arrive and swoop over audience heads.
Of course such fun would be little without a thrill of danger, and that’s repeatedly offered as the giants of the ancient forests emerge. Some children are guided away from apparent peril to safety, and there are repeated warnings of troubles ahead.
But it all turns out fun, nobody’s blood needs licking away, and the one young person who donated his head to the fearsome Australovenator – a claw-handed, red-meat sort of fellow – was clearly prepared beforehand (and rewarded with a dinosaur meal for one in return for his act of bravery).
It’s well-constructed too, though a West End theatre isn’t ideal for a show that builds an informal-seeming relation with its audience. At least some of the venues on the British tour may be more helpful. But no Mesozoic-mad youngster’s going to want to miss this one, wherever.
Performers: Scott Wright, Steve Peck, Hal Sylvester, Lindsey Chaplin.
Director: Scott Wright.
Designer: Steve Howarth. Erth Visual & Physical Inc.
29-30 Jan Wed 1.30pm & 4.30pm Thu 11am & 4.30pm The Radlett Centre 01923 859291 www.radlettcentre.co.uk
1-2 Feb Sat 1.30pm & 3.30pm Sun 11am & 2pm Cliffs Pavilion Southend-on-Sea 01702 351135 www.southendtheatre.org.uk
5-6 Feb Wed 5pm; Thu 10.30 am &1.30pm The Landmark Ilfracombe 01271 324242 www.northdevontheatres.org.uk
7-8 Feb Fri 11am & 1.30pm; Sat 11am & 2pm Bournemouth Pavilion 0844 576 3000 www.bic.co.uk
11-12 Feb Tue 1.30pm; Wed 10.30am & 4.30pm Oakengates Theatre Telford 01952 3382382 www.theplacetelford.com
14-15 Feb Fri 4.30pm; Sat 11am & 2pm The Hawth Crawley 01293 553636 www.parkwoodtheatre.co.uk
16-18 Feb Sun 2pm; Mon, Tue 11am & 2pm Corn Exchange Cambridge 01223 357851 www.cornex.co.uk
19 Feb 11am & 2pm Colston Hall Bristol 0844 887 1500 www.colstonhall.org
21-23 Feb Fri 1.30pm; Sat, Sun 10.30am & 1.30pm Richmond Theatre 0844 871 7651 www.atgtickets.com/dinosaur-zoo/richmond-theatre
25-27 Feb Tue 1.30pm Wed, Thu 10.30am & 1.30pm Jersey Opera House 01534 511115 www.jerseyoperahouse.co.uk
6-8 March Thu 1.30pm & 4.30pm; Fri 11am & 4.30pm; Sat 11am,1.30pm, 4pm Wimbledon Theatre 0844 871 7646 www.atgtickets.com/dinosaur-zoo/new-wimbledon-theatre
14 March 1.30pm & 6.30pm Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park 0151 443 2200 www.knowsley.gov.uk
15-16 March Sat 2pm; Sun 11am & 2pm Watford Colosseum 0845 075 3993 www.watfordcolosseum.co.uk
4-6 April Fri 1.30pm; Sat, Sun 11am & 2pm St George’s Hall Bradford 01274 432000 www.bradford-theatres.co.uk
10-11 April 12pm & 2pm Royal & Derngate Northampton 01604 624811 www.royalandderngate.co.uk
15-16 April 11am & 2pm The Anvil Basingstoke 01256 844244 www.anvilarts.org.uk
23-24 April Wed 2pm Thu 11am & 2pm St David’s Hall Cardiff 029 2087 8500 www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk