Presented by RCC
Reviewed 22nd February 2020
The audience assembling at Elder Hall is perhaps louder and more excitable than the usual Fringe cohort. Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo brings long extinct animals to life through puppetry for the entertainment of children and those still young at heart. The show returns this year with an updated menagerie.
Head keeper and our host for the afternoon is Miles. His manner is friendly and he easily entertains the children by blending education with comedy – and the occasional jump scare from an attending dinosaur. After welcoming the audience, Miles asks: “Who knows when dinosaurs lived?” When one of the children answers “One hundred years ago?” he smiles and replies kindly “A little longer than that.” Children are entranced as he brings baby dinosaurs onto the stage. The puppets are impressively detailed and expressive, including the tiny Tyrannosaurus Rex, who is covered in downy feathers. As Miles explains, these helped to retain body heat.
Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo focuses mostly on Australian dinosaurs, with Miles offering a brief introduction for each species. He even describes what their temperaments may have been like, using comparative paleo psychology. Miles introduces Minmi Paravertebra, Australia’s most complete dinosaur ever discovered, as a “Lover not a fighter.” We also meet Meganeura, Leaellynasaura, and the newly discovered Titanosaur Sauropod, among others.
As each dinosaur comes on stage, Miles invites at least one child to come greet them. A thrill for those lucky children selected, this also helps the young crowd remain engaged. Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo is a kind-hearted, innovative, and truly enjoyable experience for the entire family.
Reviewed by Nicola Woolford
Rating (out of 5): 4.5
Season: 22nd February – 15th March 2020
Duration: 50 mins