23-24 August 2016
Reviewed by Katy Nettleton
So we set off with excitement, my 3 children (aged 6, 6 and 3) singing “We are going to Dinosaur Zoo, Zoo, Zoo” all the way there (an hour’s journey!). When we got there their excitement continued with seeing balloons of all different dinosaurs (yes, we ended up buying a few on our way home!). The theatre was welcoming as ever and as we waited patiently for the start my trio were trying to guess which dinosaurs they would see, and what sort of puppets they were going to be (the only puppets my son aged 3 had seen before was fluffy ones at home!) and why there was hay bales on stage!
The show started with a narrator taking centre stage and talking about what we were going to experience for the next 55 minutes. She talked about the dinosaurs and a bit of history (with some adult tailored jokes) and got all the children standing up with anticipation for the show.
The show seemed a very structured performance, with different dinosaurs being brought onto stage and a bit of a description about them, what they ate and size etc. with children from the stalls being invited up onto stage to meet the dinosaurs. My trio were a little upset as they were unable to be selected as we were in the dress circle, however as the show progressed there was an interactive part involving a hovering insect above our heads which made many adults jump! So this soon made up for it!
It is hard to write a review without giving away too many surprises for both children and adults alike, but I don’t think you will be disappointed. The puppets were brilliant, and lifelike. The puppeteers handled the smaller dinosaurs with a “mothering touch” and made the little ones think they were real dino-babies! I would admit there were 2 things that I was slightly disappointed with; the length of the show is perfect for little ones (55 minutes) however as much of this involved participation from the audience the actual length of time the dinosaurs were on stage was limited. My other doubt is over the cost; it would be £60 (thereabouts) for a family of 4 to watch, and you can see the value with regards to dinosaurs and any dinosaur mad child (like my 3) would love it, and you can’t put a price on a child’s smile. However, for me I thought it was a bit steep and I think this may be the reason why the theatre was only half full.
The final touch was being able to give the dinosaurs a quick kiss and stroke in the foyer on the way out (my trio was too scared to stroke the big one on stage!) – this made their day. All the way home we had “We have seen Dinosaur Zoo, Zoo, Zoo and had Fun, Fun Fun” – so think this sums up their enjoyment of the show.
Dinosaur Zoo Live is currently on tour and suitable for age 3 years +, for more information and tour dates visit www.dinosaurzoolive.com.
For other shows at Buxton Opera House visit www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk.
Buxton Opera House, Water Street, Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 6XN | 0845 127 2190