Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Out and about: Walking with Dinosaurs

This weekend was full of time travel. I took my friend's six year old son (and his dad, my Baby Bro and my parents) back to a prehistoric age to see the Walking with Dinosaurs live show at the O2.

It was awesome.

I was surprised to be so excited by the prospect of seeing dino puppets (not a spoiler!) set to music and narrated by a paleontologist, but I really, really was.

The show takes you through the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods and features the "celebrities" of each era... culminating in the Big One.

My bro was a complete dino nerd as a child, and some of his knowledge must have rubbed off on me because I found myself getting excited as the dinosaurs entered the arena "ooooh, Brachiosaurus", "I bet this is Stegosaurus", "woooooo, T-Rex!"

Thankfully my squeals were drowned out by those of the kids in the box with us!

The journey is illustrated beautifully with the use of the ever changing landscape (so cleverly done), accompanied by a moving music score, (I didn't, but I did almost cry at one point) and the narrator, playing the part of a palentologist, provided enthusiastic commentary about the flora and fauna, evolution, the changing land mass and the dinos themselves in terms that were understandable to young kids, but not boring for grown ups.

The puppets were brilliant and the smaller ones were mesmerising in the same way as those in Warhorse. You know they aren't real, clearly being able to see the human operatives, but you can't help but be sucked in by their life-like mannerisms (as life-like as we know long-extinct gigantic reptiles to be) and movements. Really very clever.

It's not highly scientific, more like a prehistoric soap opera at times, and I have no idea on the accuracy, though my dino-geek-New-Scientist-reading companions didn't correct it too much, so I'm assuming it was relatively correct. I found it all rather interesting, but I didn't learn anything new, so maybe I'm a dino nerd too?


Well, I have watched The Land Before Time at least 100 times and the Jurassic Park films about 50, so I must have learned something.

The ending is all rather cute and funny too with a particular character stealing the show.

It's going on tour, so check here for dates and tickets.

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