Miranda’s parents, back “in the ancient past - the 1990s,” went on a voyage to a mysterious island off the coast of Argentina with a team of palaeontologists. No one had ever made it back from there before to tell the tale, but after several years’ exploration, Miranda’s family had returned, along with several crates of the island’s most notable fauna - dinosaurs!
That is pretty much it as far as the plot is concerned, but don’t let that worry you - this backstory is but a pretext for a parade of the most incredible array of gigantic puppets I (and likely you) have ever seen.
First up is Juliette the Segnosaurus, a furry, two-legged herbivore with giant claws; soon followed by Orlando, a glorious blue four-winged micro-raptor, and Beatrice, the baby triceratops who loves being tickled. Miranda, in between grappling to feed, awaken or generally deal with the troublesome and endearing creatures, tells us just the right amount of information about each of them, a must for dino-obsessed kids like mine, but not overwhelming for those of us with more of a layman’s interest.
Then it is the turn of the big beasts. Beatrice’s mum, a magnificent gleaming full size triceratops, is particularly spectacular. But even she is just a warm up act for the main event: Timora the baby T-Rex, and then - after the audience have persuaded Miranda that there are no lawyers in the audience (“I don’t think it will be possible to bring him out after what happened in Coventry,” she initially teases us) - her big brother Titus.
Throughout the performance there is plenty of audience interaction, with one lucky youngster invited to the stage to help out with each dinosaur, and a chance for everyone to get a closer look at Timora at the end of the show.
Particularly impressive were the puppeteers. Sometimes operating in a trio for a single puppet, they were able to bring the puppets to life in breathtaking fashion. It is incredible how much personality they were able to express with a quizzical lean of the head, unimpressed slow blink or defiant lurch of the tail, at the same time as producing the animals’ voices, which ranged from the super-cute to the truly terrifying. They certainly confirmed my hypothesis that puppetry is one of the most expressive and under-rated art-forms on the planet.
Dinosaur World Live is a joy to behold from start to finish, a total treat for all the senses. Hats off to all involved!