DINOSAUR-TING OUT FAMILY LIFE..
A school backpack suddenly yawns like the jaws if a Tyrannosaurus Rex, devouring an actor’s head. A toy helicopter overflies three herding brontosauri. Human velociraptors hop and hiss: a sudden umbrella is the menacing crest of a Spinosaur. And as an unseen patient lies heaving laboured breaths, a ukelele and xylophone lament gently murmurs “Bye bye ceratops, dont cry cry ceratops, i will try, triceratops to get byee…” And at that moment, a show of whimsy and masterly, LeCoq-trained mimetic physical daftness slides into something with real heart. Eccentric, oblique, but real.
Superbolt Theatre – Maria Askew, Frode Gjerlow and Simon Maeder – play a Dorset family of three – Dad Terry, geeky son Noah and splendidly stroppy teenage Jade. They are preparing, in a community centre in Lyme Regis on the Jurassic coast, to show us an old VHS of the first Spielberg film in memory of their late Mum, who was a palaeontologist, and after separating from Terry has died. This leaves him an incompetent fulltime custodial Dad who buys time with takeout curries and the toy helicopter. The teenagers flash back at times to their childhood and the confusion of that early separation, but – someone having lost the video cassette – Noah draws the others in to re-enacting highlights of the film, right down to the trembling glass of water and the electric fence.
It is adept – the sight of Maeder playing both parts as a velociraptor chasing himself is remarkable – and amiable in tone, as when the three storm the auditorium trying, confusedly, to explain chaos theory to individual audience members in a babbling hurry. And, of course, it has good physical jokes as when the men appear as DNA strings, or one becomes Richard Attenborough in seconds, courtesy of a glob of shaving foam.
But its chief appeal is in simple heart: a slanting portrait of a family in the confusion of grief, holding itself together with a takeaway curry and the consoling memory of a film they used to watch together, raptly obsessive. That strikes a chord, in a sweet and funny hour.
http://www.edfringe.com to 30 Aug