Dinosaur Zoo

Today we went to see Dinosaur Zoo at the Kings Cross Theatre as part of Kids Week.  A lovely theatre, all decked out for the Railway Children but really lovely all the same and quite different from what you would normally expect from a theatre but in a very good way.  It’s a shame Dinosaur Zoo didn’t give us the same feeling.   We had been waiting for weeks for this and maybe our expectations were too high?

A brilliant idea and the puppets were unbelievably real.  The interaction was wonderful with children and parents, but the chat and trying to be funny for the adults in between was too much and made the hour drag.  There were four sections dedicated to four different dinosaurs (the first actually being babies, which was mightily cute).  The first half was fast paced, with three types of dinosaurs on stage but the second half really did start to drag.  Two more types of dinosaur could probably have featured in there if the inane chat had been less and the second half hour wasn’t dedicated to one dinosaur – albeit it was the Tyrannosaurus Rex, but still.  This section, dedicated to the Tyrannosaurs, just went on and on for far too long too.  My four year old kept asking when they would move onto the next dinosaur and could we just go home, not only as he was a little scared but he just got bored after a while.  I understand it costs a lot to make puppets as brilliant as they are but they could have made the experience so much more for kids that love dinosaurs and know a huge range of them.  (Of course I’m biased as my 4 year old knows the names of dinosaurs that I didn’t even know existed!)

After spending a little time in the foyer with the baby Triceratops, after the production – this was a lovely touch, allowing all the children to pet the dinosaurs – I asked my 4 year old if he had a nice time and enjoyed it and he gave me a flat No.  The Tyrannosaurus part seemed to take over for him and as they scared him a little and went on for what seemed like an eternity it was just a bit too much for him. He even had a little cry about it as he was so frustrated 😦

What would be a wonderful follow up, and they would not need too many more puppets for this, would be a production of Julia Donaldson’s Tyrannosaurus Drip. Now that would be fantastic! And talking of Julia Donaldson, we are off to see The Gruffalo in a couple of weeks, so we shall let you know how that one is too.  Again we have high expectations especially after Room on the Broom was so great!

Final thoughts – don’t bother going to see Dinosaur Zoo unless your child is over 5 or maybe even 6 years old, the pace slows just that little bit too much in the second half with too much emphasis on the scariest dinosaur of all to keep the little ones in their seats.