Are you looking for a big night out, perhaps sojourning into a lost land of beasts, with thrills and delights around every corner? If so, Walking With Dinosaurs - the Live Experience, at the Vodafone Arena, is the BIG, high concept, family show you’ve been looking for.
The audacious premise involves taking the audience on a time traveling adventure, set millions of years ago, as led by an excitable paleontologist (Bruce Spence). During which, the audience is whisked back in time to experience continental land shifts, evolving plant life and…wait for it… DINOSAURS.
This is a spectacular event, with a suitably immodest light show. The dinosaurs (yes, the DINOSAURS) are big and fleshy, with movements used to good contrasted effect. Some lumber about the stage, while others are quick and spry. Walking With Dinosaurs doesn’t shy away from some of the brutal aspects of dinosaur life, with the first death dispensed early, but there is certainly more cute than killer here. The predominantly child-filled audience had no trouble at all suspending disbelief. It is an exhilarating show.
Several years in the making, Walking With Dinosaurs is based on the very popular BBC television series, and the focus of this show is on education and thrills. Well paced, with an excellent sound design, the script is simple and direct. The character filled dinosaurs themselves are the result of an animatronics and puppetry team. Watching their fleshy, portly bottoms swaying as they move around the stage was actually my favourite bit.
Set design included some lovely, vibrantly coloured, inflatable flora. A large screen projection was also used, along with two video screens for action close-ups. Which does lead me to the show’s biggest weakness. Walking With Dinosaurs is very much directed towards the front of the arena, with the audience at the sides experiencing a number of sightline issues. The large screen projection for instance was, I think, utilised to display a dinosaur in flight, for quite a lengthy period of time, but I’m not sure because I couldn’t really see it. The video screens could have helped allay this problem, but instead they were also tilted towards the front. Disappointing; I wonder if producers were attempting to evolve away part of the audience?
Walking With Dinosaurs - the Live Experience
Presented by WWT-Rex Touring Pty Ltd
Venue: Vodafone Arena, Melbourne
Dates: March 23 - April 4