Walking with Dinosaurs the live experience is a show that I have been meaning to write a blog entry about for some time.
If you remember some time ago, the BBC launched a six-part television series called Walking with Dinosaurs. The Show, narrated by Kenneth Branagh, used computer-generated imagery and animatronics to recreate the life of the Mesozoic, showing dinosaurs in a way that previously had only been seen in feature films like Jurassic Park.
The series was a big success, some of the success possibly down to the record breaking amount of cash spent by the beeb to produce the programs (walking with dinosaurs won a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most expensive documentary series per minute ever made).
As the title suggests; walking with Dinosaurs the live experience is a live show featuring huge, life size mechanical dinosaurs operated by teams of puppeteers and drivers. We saw the show at the Burswood dome in Perth a few weeks ago.
The little lad has loved dinosaurs for some time and after seeing a trailer on the net and seeing the adverts for the show on TV, he was so excited about seeing a T-Rex in the flesh that we had to book the tickets at the earliest opportunity.
Now life size mechanical dinosaurs operated by teams of puppeteers and drivers doesn’t sound very impressive does it but when you see these things and appreciate the enormity of the scale, it’s simply amazing. The quality of the dinosaurs and the way the animatronics were used was also just brilliant!
Although you could sometimes see some of the mechanics operating the dinosaurs, within a couple of minutes this all simply blurred into the back ground and you were transported back to the Jurassic periods. Even the guys wearing the smaller â€˜dinosaur suits’ somehow managed to pull it off
We saw all sorts, Allosaurus, Brachiosaurus, a Stegosaurus and the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex to name but a few (wow that gave the spell check a work out).
Before booking the tickets we were a little worried about taking our four year old.
Firstly, the show didn’t start until 8pm which was well after junior’s bedtime. The show also attracted a Parental Guidance recommendation and we didn’t want to terrify the little mite.
We got around the first issue by making junior have an enforced sleep during the afternoon. This is normally a bit of a struggle but as he was told that he might not be able to go if he was to tired, he forced himself to go to sleep (bless) and had a good 90 minutes during the afternoon.
This is perhaps as well as the show didn’t start until 8:20 due to traffic issues outside.
To help alleviate the second PG concern, we made sure (as recommended on the website) that we didn’t book seats right at the front near the stage.
In hindsight, this was a good thing as we watched at one stage a ten meter long (yup 10 meter) Brachiosaurus (the one with the long neck) looming down on the audience below.
The T-Rex would have also been pretty terrifying close up as it roared at the audience from only feet away.
The show itself is brilliant (can you tell that we enjoyed it yet?) It’ also very educational as the palaeontologist (who is played by either Bruce Spence or Felix Nobis depending on the show) walks you through the evolution of dinosaurs from the beginning of time though to the big bang
From a timing perspective, walking with Dinosaurs the live experience is split into two thirty minute segments with a 15 minute interval in between.
Personally, although it might have been better to watch the show in one big bite, it didn’t bother us to much. We were very conscious of the time though, especially as juniors eye lids appeared to be getting heavier and heavier as time went on.
I’m not sure why they choose to have an interval after only 30 minutes but I’d assume this is more down to technical reasons then anything else. At the end of the day, I’d imagine that recharging a Brachiosaurus’s batteries isn’t something you can do in only five minutes. ;)
The only downside to the whole experiences was physically getting out of Burswood dome at the end of the show.
Burswood is a pressurised building apparently which means everyone has to leave out of the main exits otherwise the roof has an uncanny knack of collapsing (fire exits can be used in emergencies and are scattered at regular intervals throughout the building though).
As it was warm and about 12000 people were trying to get out at the same time, some tempers were getting a little frayed as everyone converged on the revolving exit doors at the same time.
Nothing to detract from Walking with Dinosaurs though, I think Burswood must be the only place large enough in Perth to house a show of this kind of scale and despite the issues getting out of the building at the end of the show the complex itself is great and provides all of the amenities you could look for in a big entertainment complex.
At the moment, walking with dinosaurs live is touring Australia. At time of writing the show is in Adelaide and is due to move onto Melbourne from the 23rd of March.
I hope for everyone’s sake it that the production team decide to take the tour outside of Australia and hopefully a world tour covering countries such as the UK and the States will be on the cards very soon.
It begs the question though. How the hell do you move a 10 meter long Brachiosaurus :D
Some Other Resources which you may find of interest:
Walking with Dinosaurs Official Website: Click Here
Walking with Dinosaurs Video: Click Here