Review of Dinopocalypse by Catherine Lawrence

Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography

One of the first Anywhere Festival 2018 shows ‘off the blocks’ opened its doors to participants in another immersive piece from Ruckus Poetry Slam. This year we are visitors to the inaugural presentation of work to enculturate (rescue?) Dinosaurs. The Dinocorp team are hosting the presentation of their work to prepare creatures, that appear to be similar to humans, for their new lives above ground. To quote from the promo, “Dinopocalypse is an immersive, interactive experience hosted by Dinocorp to challenge our perception of the other […] they may seem human at times but they’re unused to people and we’re still learning a lot about them. What is the truth and how much can we trust what we’ve heard in the news?”

As with the 2016 Straight On Till Morning , the production design ensures that the experience of each member of the audience will be different.  Split into groups, there is the opportunity to tour the facilities, observing “natural behaviours,” with some great dance and interaction between two Dinosaurs (see photograph, above) and happy dinosaur-human interactions. But also to watch the darker side of treatment and reinforcement processes. The program and promotion direct the audience to consider the metaphor in the context of “the other” (suggesting links to Manus Island). I found myself reflecting on how PETA or other groups might interpret the show in the context of the treatment of animals. Or we might all wish to reflect on the treatment of children as we educate certain behaviours, rewarded with sugary treats.

The opening night audience were enthusiastic participants—occasionally perhaps too enthusiastic, leading to a sudden end to the show and a general move to the bar to continue the conversation. If you enjoy an opportunity for a different experience, and a chance to linger in a busy bar to debate the event you have just attended, this may be the show for you.

Verdict: If you like immersive/interactive theatre then you may like this—and enjoy the discussions in the bar afterwards.

Audience tip: The show starts and ends in the bar. Dress for going outside and be prepared to spend some of the show standing/walking on the grass (i.e. slightly uneven surface and some slopes/steps, and low lighting levels when outside). Great public transport links (or parking at Mowbray Park City Cat Terminal). 15+.

Catherine Lawrence.

The reviewer attended the Wednesday 9th May performance. The show runs on Wednesday and Fridays until 18th May 2018. Tickets are available at the Anywhere Festival website.

Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.