Jurassic Earth – Review – York Grand Opera House
By Gail Schuster, January 2023
On Saturday afternoon, the residents of York had the opportunity to meet the titans of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods and undertake dinosaur ranger training. Fortunately, everybody passed, so we were well versed in safety techniques such as the dinosaur dodge and the backup manoeuvre, in order to deal with any eventuality. This was just as well as the dinosaurs had escaped from their enclosures!
Before entering the auditorium there was the chance to meet a fully animatronic velociraptor, which proved very popular, along with a large, hatched dinosaur egg, both suitable for photograph opportunities.
Jurassic Earth was a lot of fun as well as being educational, using comedy, song, action and dance to engage the young audience, fully holding their attention for the duration of one and a half hours. How often do you get to sing with a brontosaurus or dance with a triceratops?
The impressive dinosaurs are undoubtably the stars, particularly Zeus, the mighty t-rex, who has a tremendous roar and is said to be the largest walking t-rex in Europe, towering above the handlers on stage. The creatures are an excellent and life-like combination of animatronics and costumes and, most importantly, convincing to their young admirers. During the performance we were treated to scary velociraptors, a cute brontosaurus, an unpredictable carnotaurus, a cunning spinosaurus, a wily triceratops and the mega t-rex. Each one was given a personality and played its part in the ongoing story which links the production together.
The story is progressed by a small group of actors, each of whom have distinct roles and personas; Professor Matilda, the mother of dinosaurs, a nervous Dr Bones, the intrepid Ranger Keys, the competent Ranger Danger and the hapless Rookie who is trying to get her ranger badge but failing miserably. As in all good stories there is a happy ending and Rookie triumphs eventually. All the cast encourage audience participation in the form of stomping, clapping, singing, shouting and more.
It fully succeeds as an interactive production, aimed at entertaining a younger audience. There were many excited children afterwards, and just as many happy parents, whose offspring had had the opportunity to use some of their energy learning how to handle dinosaurs and stomp along with a triceratops on a cold, January day. Sadly, the show has now left York, but the dinosaurs are roaming the country at other venues in Yorkshire and beyond.