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Review: Walking With Dinosaurs @ Arena, Manchester
I WON’T lie to you — I was a little scared as the curtain went up for the arena spectacular of Walking With Dinosaurs.
And I wasn’t alone in my nerves. A little boy next to me hid behind his mother as sound effects of the characters from Jurassic Park vibrated around the MEN Arena.
But from the moment the first of the 15 life-size dinosaurs appeared any apprehension was replaced with excitement as gasps of wonder and whispers of disbelief were passed around the arena like an unconventional Mexican wave.
And it wasn’t just the children who were left open-mouthed with amazement at these creatures that were apparently living, breathing and blinking before our very eyes. Every member of the audience was blown away by what they saw.
History really is spectacularly brought back to life in this monster of a show. Some 65 million years since they last walked the earth, dinosaurs one again roared and reigned supreme.
And seeing as it’s based on the award-winning BBC series, it’s also packed full of facts and figures taking the audience on a journey through evolution.
Within minutes you forget there are men inside our prehistoric friends and the larger animals are being controlled by state-of-the-art technology.
Even the large colourful vegetation on the impressive stage set manages to have a life of its own.
There are a few fights, although there's nothing too scary in this family-friendly performance and its no wonder, at £300,000 a piece, they probably don’t dare damage any of them.
But it’s the largest dinosaurs in the production, the 56 foot long Brachiosaurus and the T-Rex saved for the big finale that get the best reaction.
The female Tyrannosaurus Rex appears on stage to defend her baby from predators. A personal highlight came when the mother was teaching her baby to roar and all the little T-Rex could muster was a tiny comedy gurgle — no doubt the first time any of us had deemed a dinosaur cute.
Walking with Dinosaurs is one of those nights out that the kids and mum and dad will enjoy in equal measure.
And it achieved something rare in theatre — it left the audience wanting more.
l WALKING WITH DINOSAURS — MEN Arena until August 2. Tickets on 0844 847 8000.