Dinosaurs roamed the earth 65.5 million years ago. For those of us who were not alive back then, Jurassic Parody brings these amazing creatures back to life. Through some DNA splicing, this jukebox musical filled up the York Theatre from November 17–21. Brought to us by the “nerdlesque” group Geekenders, the show was a true parody, full of clowning and caricature.
The costumes were absolutely gorgeous. The sparkly green dinosaurs stood out on the stage, with brilliantly clever headpieces to denote the types of dinosaurs represented. The rest of the cast was bedecked in acutely accurate costumes to their film counterparts, helping the audience identify all the iconic characters.
Brilliant acting choices studded the performance, especially in portrayals of the main characters. Standouts on this front were Stephan Blakley (Dr. Alan Grant), Rob Gillespie (John Hammond), Ryan Caron (Tim Murphy), and Graeme Thompson (Dr. Ian Malcolm). An especially hilarious and excellently delivered Old Spice commercial-inspired monologue from Thompson was one of the highlights of the show.
There were some great moments from the chorus of dinosaurs. Numbers such as “Toxic Love” and “Eating All the Kids” both boasted clever choreography and great vocals. The physicality of the sickly triceratops was exceedingly excellent, as was every number Alison Jenkins (Tyrannosaurus Rex) performed. Jenkins’ voice and stage presence, as well as the vocal talents from Caitlin Carhoun (Lex Murphy) and Jesse Alvarez (Mr. DNA, Dr. Wu, Dodgson, park guide), were high point of the show, as was her incredible stage presence.
The all-ages friendly performance also had great lighting design, with an effective use of gels and gobos (colours and shapes) to set each scene. The electric fence used throughout the performance was a genius idea cleverly implemented.
Unfortunately, some mic issues marred the show, as well as a few memorization stumbles. Additionally, the performance of “Putting It Together,” as well as some larger group numbers, were regrettably confused and off-key. Yet, despite these issues, the performance overall was enjoyable and entertaining.
But why Jurassic Park? Fairlith Harvey, writer of the musical and artistic director of Geekenders, says that “people who see that film love that film.” Stephen Blakley added, “I don’t think any movie I’ve ever seen captures that feeling of wonderment” in the same way as Jurassic Park.
Known for performing original pieces often based on iconic works, Ryan Caron said that the Geekenders love “telling stories in different ways.” The balance that must be maintained, says Harvey, is “making the performance accessible while still giving it layers.”
Jurassic Parody was certainly a spirited performance, full of stellar moments and memorable numbers. It was a hilarious romp into the land of the dinosaurs, and one I would gladly watch again.