Charter Theatre, Preston Guild Hall
Billed as ‘the most exciting family show since time began’ this is not what my nine-year-old son and his seven-year-old friend witnessed.
After watching the promo trailer for this production we all agreed it looked pretty good.
But upon seeing the first dinosaur the boys quickly noticed that they could see the actor inside the beast’s legs which dampened the illusion somewhat.
Also, the fact only two fully grown prehistoric creatures – both T-Rexs – appeared in the play left you feeling slightly robbed.
Although I didn’t think the dinosaur effects were that bad – both were a decent size and the sound effects worked well – the birth of a baby dinosaur which would, the promo had claimed, amaze and awe the audience, was laughable.
The script lacked any real content and felt as if it had been rushed.
The comedic elements in the play were mildly amusing, but the pantomimesque ‘This is not a musical’ shouted by the cast every time one of them was about to burst into song became tiresome.
Saying that, said cast did try their best and came across as bubbly and enthusiastic with some moments of chemistry between the five actors.
It would have been a tall order for any thespian to fully turn this play around, with the cheap looking set and poor dialogue, but the actors did at least manage to interact well with the crowd, and so plenty of the smaller kids felt like part of the show.
Unfortunately this was partly cheapened during the play by them encouraging the audience to buy flashing ‘dinosaur sticks’.
To call this “an absolutely brilliant show for all the family” was, I felt, not strictly accurate advertising.
Although younger children in the audience had fun, older children – such as the pair I accompanied – who have seen ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ and similar, this really did not live up to the show as described.
By all means promise to ‘get transported to a prehistoric place full of fun, thrills and screams’ if you also specify that the show is aimed at infants.
But the thing that came closest to drawing screams from the two I took along came right at the end when they announced ‘to be continued’.