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Triassic Parq

a Musical Comedy
by Marshall Pailet, Bryce Norbitz, and Steve Wargo

COMPANY : Out of Box Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Artisan Resource Center
ID# 5270

SHOWING : May 11, 2018 - May 26, 2018



Religion, identity, sex...and raptors! "Triassic Parq" is a raucous retelling of that famous dinosaur-themed film, this time seen from the dinos’ point of view. Chaos is unleashed upon the not-so-prehistoric world when one dinosaur in a clan of females spontaneously turns male. The mutation spawns a chain reaction of identity crises, forcing the dinosaurs to question the very facts of life they’ve always held as truth. An uproariously funny musical meditation on faith, science, and love.

Music Director Annie Cook
Director Kiernan Matts
Morgan Freeman/Velociraptor of Science Hannah Marie Craton
Velociraptor of Innocence Trevor Perry
Velociraptor of Faith Dylan Parker Singletary
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


by playgoer
Monday, May 14, 2018
Dinosaurs on a "Jurassic Park"-type island off Costa Rica have been cloned from DNA that contains a portion from frogs that can alter their sex in response to environmental conditions. When one of the all-female dinosaurs starts growing a penis, the enclosure is thrown into a panic. Add in an exiled dinosaur with secrets of their origin, a religious leader who worships the lab that created them as the god Lab, and a Tyrannosaurus Rex with a hair-trigger temper, and you have the makings of a bawdy musical with some pseudo-intellectual points to make.

The set, designed by director Kiernan Matts, consists of a green-painted floor with a crude cut-out depiction of saw grass near the upstage wall (where ten chairs for audience members are located). Projections are used briefly for one musical number, but projected on a side wall not easily visible to some audience members. Visual appeal has to come from Ali Olhausen’s inventive costumes, featuring an eclectic selection of leggings, and from Nina Gooch’s overactive, ultraviolet-obsessed lighting scheme.

The dim ultraviolet scenes point out the huge deficiencies in Kiernan Matts’ sound design. Most musical numbers are choral in nature, with actors singing at the top of their lungs to a pre-recorded accompaniment that sometimes drowns out their words (when they’re not garbled by the echo chamber that the bare playing space has become). It’s hard to decipher a singer’s words when you can’t see their lips, and lips are not visible in dim lighting or when an actor is facing the other side of the audience. Luckily, the lyrics of the songs are usually repetitive, so you can usually catch the crucial words on the third or fourth iteration. Sound effects are good and beautifully timed to onstage action.

Music director Annie Cook has ensured that the singers are well prepared and mesh wonderfully with the pre-recorded tracks, but the sheer volume of the voices quickly becomes wearing. True, this is a rock score, but there is so little variety in volume that the show becomes more of an assault than an entertainment.

Mr. Matts has created winning choreography and fight choreography, but he has encouraged his actors to develop over-the-top "look at me! look at me!" performances that draw focus in all sorts of directions that don’t necessarily support the overriding plot of the show. Consequently, the directorial style seems unfocused. The contrast between the spotlight-loving main actors and the minor put-upon ones (Christopher Carpenter as Deborah and Audrae Peterson as Pianosaurus) becomes glaring.

Perhaps the show is tons of fun for those who choose to play the drinking game handed out on slips of paper with the programs. Perhaps the show is a delight for people who love campy cross-dressing and fuzzy, ever-growing penises. Perhaps the show is a triumph for those who love overly loud music screeched in an overly loud manner and pine to be sprinkled with liquid as a character pees into the audience. As for me, I most liked the performance of Savannah Jones, as the mostly mute Mime-a-saurus.

"Triassic Parq" is the sort of show that one might say sounds cute, based on its concept. But the concept has not been fleshed out by the authors in a particularly clever way, and Out of Box’s production does little to highlight the meager pleasures of the score or story. A grumpy old curmudgeon might say that it’s silly, stupid fun for silly, stupid people. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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