'Dinosaur Park' review or 'Clever giiiiirls...and boys'

'Dinosaur Park', Superbolt Theatre Company
St James Theatre, 5th January 2016 
Written for Time Out



‘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.

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