Dinosaur Zoo promises to give kids a close encounter with prehistoric lizards
The live show by Australia's Erth theatre company uses puppetry to educate and entertain
Animal handling sessions at the zoo usually involve creatures of the cute and cuddly variety – or who, at the very least, have a pulse. The brainchild of Australian physical theatre company Erth, Dinosaur Zoo proves that being extinct for over 60 million years needn’t stop an animal getting its head petted.
‘We teach the audience aspects of animal husbandry,’ explains the show’s director, Scott Wright, ‘and invite some members of the audience onto the stage to assist us with feeding and caring for our dinosaurs.’ The dinosaurs in question are realistic puppets of all shapes and sizes, brought to life by two puppeteers, and kept in check by a friendly and informative ‘zoo keeper’.
‘Most people's experience of dinosaurs is based on inanimate objects in museums or as animated creatures in film or television,’ says Wright. ‘So by bringing our dinosaurs onto the stage, we take you one step closer.’ This family show, aimed at anyone aged three plus, is the latest in a long line of entertainment centred on prehistoric beasts. But, according to Wright, the characters you’ll meet at Dinosaur Zoo are a far cry from the likes of Barney, Dino from The Flintstones or Toy Story’s Rex.
‘None of the dinosaurs in our show speak, teach children to count, wear clothes, drive trains or live in houses,’ says Wright. ‘Of course, dinosaurs can be used as a gateway for learning, which is always commendable, but sometimes this can be exploited well beyond any real validation. We hope that in our show we impart some valued lessons about the true nature of animal behaviour – whilst having some fun and a good laugh, too.’
King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 27–Sun 29 Sep.