REVIEW: Dinosaur Park (St James’s Theatre)

In August 2015 I was lucky enough to go to Edinburgh Fringe and see Superbolt’s Jurassic Park at the time it was on. After thoroughly enjoying it in Scotland I jumped at the chance to see Dinopark in London’s St James’s Theatre.

Set in Lyme Regis Community Centre, we are greeted by the Park family at the memorial of Madeleine (mother) Park. To honor her memory as Madeleine, the family decides on a communal screening of their favourite film Jurassic Park. However when father of the family Terry Park finds the tape has gone missing, Terry, his stubborn teenage daughter Jade and sprightly son Noah get working on a reenactment of the classic dinosaur movie.

The trio of performers made up of Simon Maeder, Maria Askew and Frode Gjerølw, remain full of energy throughout the eighty minute piece, while creating iconic scenes from Jurassic Park. With little set, the actors use surrounding objects such as a black backpack for the tyrannosaurus’s head and an umbrella for the seemingly cute dilophosaurus. All three give first class impressions of the original actors such as Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern but Simon Maeder’s characterization of park ranger Robert Muldoon is priceless. While all three execute perfect comedic timing, in more touching scenes they know how to deliver a performance that’s moving and sentimental.

While the show is very up-beat and prompts lots of laughter from the audience, with it being based on a dysfunctional and grieving family there are some tender moments to be experienced set within the story. “Bye Bye Ceratops” is a cute song performed on the ukulele by Simon Maeder and Frode Gjerølw and depicts the sad and vivid memory of Madeleine on her hospital bed.

The studio in St James’s Theatre is used to its full potential as the actors interact with the audience that are seated directly in front of them as well as those seated above. The stage although small creates the perfect environment for intimate storytelling, physical theatre, and some hilarious dance numbers.

Although Dinopark is very easy to understand as a story, perhaps some of the in-jokes were missed on those who aren’t that familiar with the Jurassic Park film. Thankfully as a fan myself I can say that it is certainly a must see show for any super fans. Superbolt Theatre have created something funny, dynamic, and truly unique and I highly recommend grabbing a ticket while you can!

Reviewed by Elicea Devonshire
Photo: Geraint Lewis

Dinosaur Park is playing at the St James Studio until 23 January