IT’S not the first time prehistoric stars of yesteryear have wowed crowds at the NIA, but these ones were not armed with guitars.
Knowing each dinosaur requires 53 gallons of paint and 971 square feet of fabric, I knew Walking With Dinosaurs would not look like a seaside puppet show, but nothing prepares you for the shock when a seemingly real dinosaur bursts onto the teeth rimmed stage.
Although electricity would not be discovered for millions of years yet, the atmosphere in the round can only be described as electric. Hucksley the palaeontologist’s breathless commentary stops it from being just a parade of stagecraft and gives a storyline.
His size gives a shocking sense of scale against his co-stars, while his voice commands the floor.
The show is a triumph for all ages - there were no tears from the young crowd, while their parents engage in reckless photography. From the first egg cracking, you are absorbed, skipping through ages and species. Plants die, forests burn, garish flowers bloom, adding a colourful landscape to the ever-changing world of Stegosaurus and his pals and the music creates drama - hardly needed against the fight for survival being witnessed.
The show is not Jurassic Park, Hucksley’s life is not threatened and the choreographed fights between the larger dinosaurs are a facade. They are only able to move slowly backwards and forwards with no contact - so if you are a thrill seeker you would be better renting a Spielberg and staying at home.
Paying money and hiding your eyes is no way to spend a night, and watching and learning about the reality of dinosaurs is much preferable.
One of the show’s biggest selling points is its length, at 90 minutes it does not repeat itself and leaves the audience hungry - though not as hungry as other creatures in the arena!