My! What big everything you have…
Young folk today don’t know how easy they’ve got it – when I were a lass you might be as old as 9 or 10 before you encountered your first gigantic (by which I mean small plastic) prehistoric reptile, but kids nowadays are practically raised with dinosaurs in their cradles! No, really – I can still recall the thrill of finally getting that little greenish Diplodocus (the name helpfully moulded into its belly) which completed my set. I remember too seeing every stop-motion dinosaur movie (even the one where Raquel Welch wore a fetching fur bikini and defied chronology by being carried off by a Pteranodon about 65million years too late). Then the CGI technology of Jurassic Park and the actual paleontological input of Walking with Dinosaurs made it all ultra-real – but by that time the dinosaur had been thoroughly re-invented as an essential part of every child’s imagination, the monster you could believe in.
And now Newcastle welcomes them live onto the stage, with a view to family entertainment and really hands-on encounters. That’s right – book one of the front row “danger seats” and you may find yourself grooming a Giraffatitan, not to mention being on first-name terms. (I’ve always thought “Juliette” was a nice name for a great scaly beast…) Dinosaur World offers a theatrical spectacle designed to engage a young audience with their favourite creatures via a simple story and an imaginative use of lighting and sound, utilising the stage technology that Northern Stage is so good at. But I hope they’ve reinforced the floor because there really are actual physical true-to-life dinosaurs practically in your lap (aided just a little by the odd human operator, perhaps). Potential scariness can be safely enjoyed in a friendly, fact-filled, interactive adventure complete, of course, with every child’s dream pet, the Tyrannosaurus Rex.Dinosaur World, Thursday 1 June-Saturday 3 June, Northern Stage, Newcastle, 2pm (and 11am Fri & Sat), £13.50/£16. northernstage.co.uk