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Children's shows - reviews

Dinosaur Zoo

Dinosaur Zoo

As its name suggests, the Dinosaur Zoo postergramme unfolds to show a large poster

Milton Keynes Theatre
4 October 2014, 2.00pm

It’s not often these days that you come away from a children’s show having learned something new but Dinosaur Zoo is actually genuinely interesting!

I honestly didn’t know what to expect – we just wanted to capitalise on V’s new found interest in dinosaurs – but I’m so pleased we went.

Erth – the Sydney-based visual and physical theatre company – take the audience on an educational and humorous trip through prehistoric Australia.

In fact, the location formed part of the first lesson – there were different dinosaurs in different parts of the world – just like animals today. Hadn’t thought of that before!

And to be honest it’s a relief not to be confronted by yet another triceratops or diplodocus!

Genial zookeeper Kaitlyn (Rogers) introduces the audience to a range of antipodean dinosaurs – new to most adults and children alike at a guess – depicted by really excellent life-size puppets brilliantly brought to life by skillful puppeteers.

From the cute baby Dryosaurs and the Meganeura – a gigantic primative dragonfly which flew over the audience’s heads – to the Australovenator – faster and more clever than a T-Rex – and the Titanosaur – the largest ever known land animal – this was a fun lesson in the creatures which have been extinct for 65 million years. See what I’ve learnt?!

I’d like to say the dinosaurs were very realistic – I imagine they were, but having never seen a real dinosaur (despite my daughter’s jokes about my age) I can’t say for sure! It was certainly extremely easy to forget they were being “worked”. The Australovenator was certainly quite scary. V watched it between her fingers!

Kaitlyn works with the children so effectively and gets lots of them up on stage to meet the creatures, feed them disgusting looking guts, hypnotise them  – or put their heads in their mouths! Not to be tried at home. If you had a dinosaur at home.

Which you probably don’t.

She mixes fascinating facts with a lot of humour which was quite dark at times – much to the amusement of the adults in the audience.

It is such a clever mix – enough to engage even the smallest dinosaur lovers but without dumbing down and glossing over the facts or the language so the whole family learns the reality of how these huge creatures lived.

Excellent educational theatre.

V’s verdict
I now know everything about meat-eating dinosaurs and herbivore dinosaurs. I loved the really big herbivore. I really liked the baby dinosaurs and when the dragonflies nearly hit us on the head. I almost ran out when the boy nearly got eaten!

Run time: 55 minutes with no interval.

Age range: Advertised from 3-100. Some children may be a little scared but time is spent explaining the dinosaurs are not real and no child has to go on the stage if they don’t want to.

Other stuff: A postergramme was £3 and we spent £4 on dinosaur snap cards. Other merchandise ranges from £1 to £20 so there is enough to satisfy a range of dino-lovers budgets.

Get more information from the Dinosaur Zoo website.

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