Jurassic Park @ The Assembly Roxy (Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015) Review

Superbolt Theatre formed in June 2011. The company, comprises of Simon Maeder, Maria Askew and Frode Gjerlow met during their training at Le Coq Theatre School in Paris and have been collaborating ever since. The international company have devised plays including Centralia, Piatto Finale, The Uncanny Valley, and have toured the UK, Poland, Switzerland and Norway. Their latest show being Jurassic Park.

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Jurassic Park won the Pick of the Week Award and the Origins Award at the Vaults Festival earlier this year; it is set to be a sell out at Edinburgh Fringe 2015. Located in the rustic building of the Assembly Roxy, up the daunting, gothic staircase, which prepares the audience for an unexpectedly cordial shock when they enter the auditorium to the warm greeting of Simon Maeder, playing Noah, a young schoolboy.

Potted plants decorate the stage; these are to mark a permanent background as the play transitions from a family home in Lyme Regis to the famous island off Costa Rica where Spielberg’s classic is retold through theatrical eyes. One of the most enchanting aspects of the play is the actors’ ability to use the characterisations of the family members they each play; Terry, the hopeless dad, Jade, the angsty daughter, and Noah, the hopeful young son, and enact them into the stereotyped characters of the film Jurassic Park. We watch these characters enjoying themselves playing the Hollywood characters, their physicality hitting clowning points, especially in their personification of dinosaur DNA. It is obvious this company has Le Coq training; the characters’ physicality, voice and temperament are that of the happy clown, the grumpy/sad clown and the clumsy clown. They make a great three-way relationship, in which none of them can completely agree; this family relationship is all too familiar and you have to laugh at the relatability.

A family friendly, funny and touching comedy; essentially about a family who have recently lost the mother of the house, and who devote their love and loss for her into the family favourite film, Jurassic Park. When Noah finds out the film has gone mysteriously missing, the three have to resort to using their imagination; taking us on a journey into the Jurassic jungle, onto the broken rides and chased by giant dinosaurs in the night with backpack eyes, as they reminisce the story of their beloved film, and beloved missing link; the mother.

It will have you rolling in your seat at the random intersections where the characters become dinosaurs mid scene, mid sentence. But it works towards a very cleverly executed piece, as these intersections not only serve to divide the story from family home into Jurassic Park, but also journey back in time, so we can follow the family’s story; starting at the end and working it’s way through the major life events of the two children.

The innovative imagination of the cast transcends onto the audience, I feel like I am on a surreal journey. A comparison is made between the dinosaur dying and mother suffering in hospital. Both beings are physically not on stage, but through song and generous believability of the actors, an image evoked, an image that had the audience sniffing and shyly drying their eyes.

I find the aberration of Jade difficult at times to be genuine; the stagnated gender type of the frustrated teenage girl lost herself at the seams. The incredibly high energy of the other characters Terry and Noah stick to the foreground, and unmatched, hers doesn’t quite reach the peak and interest that the other two characters achieve. It seems perhaps it is a more rigid representation, which I think is a shame, as Maria Askew undoubtedly has excellent comic timing, her serious and blunt demeanour serves her well. The difference is that Simon and Frode acutely play inside their characters, using the audience as a mere mirror of their fun. I sympathise with her character choice, as Jade is continuously morose, but perhaps a little more fun playing her is what this character needs.

Undeniably, Jurassic Park is a definite must see at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, it’s very entertaining, gripping and heart warming. They entwine tender moments with comedy, and through mixing light clowning, manage to create the ambience of an innocence that can only be found in the family favourite Spielberg’s film. This is not a children’s’ show, mind, it is entertaining for all ages, whether you’ve seen the film or not. 4.5/5

Review written by RATHE.

Jurassic Park is currently showing at the Assembly Roxy (Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015) until Sunday 30th August. For more information on the production, visit here…

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