Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco

A Wonderful, Wacky Production of Triassic Parq
Ray of Light Theatre

Also see Jeanie's review of Bonnie & Clyde and Richard's review of Show Boat

Lewis Rawlinson
Ray of Light Theatre has in the past presented some terrific professional musicals, Assassins, Carrie and The Full Monty to name a few. They are now presenting a madcap production that satirizes the Jurassic Park theme park ride. Triassic Parq has an energy-driven score by Marshall Pailet, Bryce Norbitz and Steve Wargo. The score is mostly of the generic pop variety that is often composed these days.

The fast-paced production, thanks to first time director Alex Kirschner, takes place on Isla Nublar, and island made famous by Michael Crichton and more famous by Steven Spielberg. The audience first sees a narrator who introduces himself as Morgan Freeman (Alex Rodriguez, who really hams it up). He tells the audience that all of the dinosaurs were created as females so they would not breed. However, we soon discover that there is a small percentage of DNA in them so they could become male. One of the dinosaurs, a T-Rex 2 charmingly played by Chelsea Holifield, develops a strange new accessory and a compulsion to use it on a naïve young velociraptor played strikingly by Lewis Rawlinson. What happens next I leave to your imagination.

David Naughton as a Velociraptor of Faith gives a great performance, giving out prosaicisms and philosophical statements. Monica Turner as T-Rex Kaitlyn belts out such songs as "Kaitlyn's Rampage." Rounding out the young cast is limber Javi Harnly as Mime-a-saurus. That's right, he does not speak a word, though he does a great mime shtick toward the end of the production. What this youthful cast lacks in acting chops they make up for with enthusiasm and singing ability.

Annie Dauber has devised a wonderful jungle set that fills the entire stage, with high electric fences that are skilfully moved by the cast as needed. There is a single cage stage left that contains the four-member band consisting of Robbie Cowan (piano), Nahuel Bronzini (guitar), Eugene Theriault (bass) and Geneva Harrison (percussion). The music never feels as unimportant as the plot line.

Ross Kaufman has deigned some fantastic animal costumes for the cast and Dane Paul Andres' choreography is exceedingly energetic. Lighting by Joe D'Emilio is eye popping.

Triassic Parq plays at the Eureka Theatre, 215 Gateway Center, San Francisco through June 28, 2014. For tickets, visit Coming up next is the West Coast premiere of Yeast Nation (The Triumph of Life) which the company will develop with Urinetown writers Greg Hollmann and Mark Kotis. This opens on October 3rd and runs through November 1st at the Victoria Theatre.

Photo: Erik Scanlon

Cheers - and be sure to Check the lineup of great shows this season in the San Francisco area

- Richard Connema

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