Jurassic Park

Reviewer's Rating

Quite frankly who doesn’t want to go and see a 90’s cinema classic staged by a company who’ve been described as ‘fluid and faultless’ and have had more 4 and 5 star reviews than hot dinners? Don’t be fooled by the title though, this isn’t, as such, a stage adaptation of Jurassic Park. Like a beautiful strand of DNA, Superbolt Theatre have entwined cleverly re-imagined scenes from Spielberg’s masterpiece around a home grown family tale, set on the Jurassic Coastal region of Lyme Regis.

Having lost their palaeontologist mother in an inferred road traffic accident, Noah and Jade Parks, along with their father Terry, welcome us to the community hall where they are going to hold a memorial screening of Mrs Park’s favourite film. You’ve guessed it; Jurassic Park. Problem is “someone” forgot to put the VHS, the original recording off the telly, back into its box and so the trio, following Noah’s insistent lead, are left to improvise the entire story. Simon Maeder as irrepressibly enthusiastic Noah really drives the piece and is as superb a mover as he is a comic character actor.

As are Frode Gjerløw and Maria Askew who shimmy and glide with ease through a range of Homo sapien and dinosaur physicalities, as well as a whole host of accents. The Sega-style fight scene between Gjerløw as the T-Rex and Askew as Lex is brilliant observed, down to the mimicking of virtual fighters bobbing back and forth between attacks. And this isn’t the only successful absurdist tangent thrown in. The two guys are beautifully camp as the dancing DNA who explain how John Hammond’s whole dinosaur experiment was even possible.

The peak of the absurdity arrives in the brief interludes of a low-lit amber wash, where the cast break into something like Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks with an added dinosaur twist. Sometimes as a transition between scenes and occasionally interrupting a family member mid-sentence, this device ensures the piece never takes itself too seriously.

Which is not to say that the troupe avoid pathos and they certainly attempt to delve into the painful world of broken family relations. Sadly, to my mind, the conceit of the family narrative remains a little superficial and not as strong as the fun they have with recreating the film. As a show fresh from the creative womb, I have a sense that the relationships will develop the more the material is performed, seeing as they are clearly gifted actors.

Part of the joy of seeing images from films so sublimely staged, as they are here, is in the recognition of the reference and I realise, about halfway through, that it would have been useful to have re-watched the movie beforehand. Nonetheless, the unforgettable iconic moments – Dennis Nedry’s run in with a Dilophosaur, the vibrations in the water glass, the T-Rex using a door handle – make starring appearances and all with just a handful of props. This show is genuinely inventive, funny and fresh; you can see why Superbolt Theatre have been chosen to headline a festival that grows from strength to strength.