by: Sandi Durell
When writers create, there are just no limits to what the human brain can conjure up. This kooky spoof of Jurassic Park has a group of pre-historic dinosaurs living behind an electrified fence as humans study and feed them goats. The frenetic 85 minutes is sometimes silly fun and other times – raises a big “Q” (stands for Truth in this production, but Question in my mind). Seems that these dinosaurs have a story to tell with a lot of frenetic singing and dancing while some audience members sit on stage in a cleverly designed tropical jungle setting (Caite Hevner), located off the coast of Costa Rica, aided by light and lightening bolts (Jen Schriever) and thunderous sound (Carl Casella).
Everything seems copasetic what with the group’s spiritual leader Velociraptor of Faith (Wade McCollum), the controlling raucous Pastor, leading his pack. The colorfully clad “dinosaurs” are supposedly all females to avoid breeding – – as the song says “It’s a Beautiful Day to be a Woman,” until horror of horrors, young Velociraptor of Innocence, sweet and girlish, yet hungry for the truth Alex Wyse, begins to question and escapes. She is more confused when T-Rex 2, a tortured Claire Newmann, begins to grow a penis and experience the reasons for its being. Seems there was just enough Frog DNA in the mix to cause the change. T-Rex 2 is exiled from the group, forced to leave her best friend T-Rex 1, a brazen, roaring Shelley Thomas.
A particularly satiric scene involves Mime-a-sauras (Brandon Espinoza) – he represents the distinction between Nietzchean Existentialism and unintentional, yet unavoidable path towards Wagnerian Anti-Semitism (that’s what it says in the program) as he mimics T-Rex 2 seeing her reflection in water, including her dangling penis; “my beard will grow and I’ll have no flow.”
Lest I forget, all the comings and goings are overseen by narrator Morgan Freeman – no, not that one but the white-suited dude who isn’t sure if he’s Freeman or Samuel L. Jackson (Lee Seymour).
There are multi pop-culture jokes, references to gender and identity crisis and even Pianosaurus (Zak Sandler) gets down with the tongue-in-cheek jesters, aided by Percuss-a-don Jeremy Yaddaw.
The blood and penis extensions, made of fabric, are the brainchild of costume designer Dina Perez. Triassic Parq was the 2010 Best Musical winner at the Fringe NYC. The book and lyrics are by Bryce Norbitz, Stephen Wargo together with co-author, composer Marshall Pailet who also directs the rowdy bunch of pre-historics in this take off. Kyle Mullins choreographs.
If you’re crazy about singing dinosaurs and need to experience crisis, doubt and eventual chaos, and find out what the real weapon of mass destruction is, then Triassic Parq, in all its silliness, will suit you just fine. SoHo Playhouse, 15 Vandam Street, NYC