Erth’s Prehistoric World: A motley crew of prehistoric critters

Dinosaurs have long occupied many a child’s –and adult’s– imagination. In Erth’s Prehistoric World, a motley crew of prehistoric critters and creatures emerge from our collective imagination and come back to life for an hour of wonder and discovery.

REVIEWED BY:  Kate Le Gallez

Presented by Erth Physical and Visual Inc., the performance begins with our intrepid on-stage guide introducing her fellow performers and puppeteers who will bring the creatures to life. The magic of this show is not only in the theatrical tricks used to tell the story (although there’s plenty of those), but in the sheer fact that it’s all true.

Starting deep below the surface on the primordial seafloor, creatures float about in a ‘tank’ at the back of the stage. First come the other-worldly organisms from the Ediacaran era, many of which were first discovered in South Australia. Then the bioluminescent glow of an angler fish takes over the greater stage. The pace picks up as a couple of baby plesiosaurs play a game of cat-and-mouse with a cunning predator, the puppets swooping and soaring around the stage and out over the audience.

Our guide then takes us back onto dry land to introduce the audience to some of the dinosaurs that walked the land of prehistoric Australia. She hypnotises three Leaellynasaura (the technique also works on chickens!), before a parade of dinosaurs take to the stage, ever increasing in size until the last is so large only its neck and head can fit.

The excitement levels from the audience were high right from the moment the lights went down and they stayed high throughout. The audience are involved in each step along the way, from helping to recreate a meteor, to shouting out the names of the various creatures. But the stars are, unsurprisingly, the dinosaurs and there was an audible hum of wonder each time a new one took to the stage.

The performance finishes with a reminder that the evolutionary descendants of dinosaurs continue to walk, or fly as the case may be, among us. Birds are now well accepted as modern-day dinosaurs, and just like their prehistoric forebears once did, many bird species now face extinction. While humans may not have been around when the original dinosaurs went extinct, our guide gently reminds us that it’s our job to make sure that history doesn’t repeat.

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