Monday, 15 April 2013

Walking with Dinosaurs - The Arena Spectacular

At the weekend, we were lucky enough to be able to take Harry (aged 4) to watch Walking With Dinosaurs - The Arena Spectacular at Birmingham NIA. Originally we had intended to take Mia as well (nearly 2), but fortunately some willing babysitters meant that we were able to enjoy the show without worrying about a fidgety toddler!

Walking with Dinosaurs - The Arena Spectacular show

I was still a little unsure about taking Harry. I was aware that the show could be quite intense, and I was a bit worried as to how he might react. Fortunately my misgivings were completely unfounded, and Harry absolutely loved it, as did Ram and I.

Walking With Dinosaurs - The Arena Spectacular is based upon the BBC television series. The arena show originated in Australia in 2007 and has played across the world since. An actor playing the part of a paleontologist takes the audience through a 200 million year history of the Earth, covering the Cretaceous, Jurassic and Triassic periods. You are introduced to the different environments in each period, the climate, the vegetation, and of course the dinosaurs.

The show features ten large dinosaurs, five suit dinosaurs and five baby dinosaur puppets. The dinosaurs are life size, and some of them really are enormous. Having the narrator on stage at the same time really helps to show the scale.

Walking with Dinosaurs - The Arena Spectacular show

I was absolutely amazed at the spectacular appearance of the dinosaurs. They roam around the stage in such a lifelike fashion. Although several do fight, there is very little real violence and it's usually more about posturing. There are also some touching moments of tenderness between mother and baby dinosaurs. The show is aimed at families, and even when the great T-Rex makes an appearance there is some humour there to dilute the dramatic tension.

The staging of the show really is fantastic. I loved watching the Pterodactyl swoop through the sky, and it was fascinating to watch the smaller suit dinosaurs darting about. The scenery, although simple, really brought the different periods to life - from stark rocky landscapes to lush vegetation. The narration was perfectly pitched, being both informative and yet still simple enough for children to understand. Harry loved learning some new facts about his favourite dinosaurs, and repeating them back to us. There was a fair amount of chatter in the audience, but that didn't impact upon the show (it was definitely loud enough to drown out any audience noise) and in my eyes was a reflection of just how much people were enjoying it.

Walking with Dinosaurs - The Arena Spectacular show

I would say that as advertised the show is suitable for children aged three and up. It's not just that it's a bit noisy and intense (which it is!) but young children don't always have the attention span or the interest to keep them going for even the short periods between actually seeing the dinosaurs. There were plenty of children in the audience from around Harry's age, and they were all enjoying it. Free earplugs for children are available upon request.

The show is expensive to stage, and this is reflected in the ticket prices. We sat fairly near the front, but plenty of cheaper tickets are available and I would imagine that the view from higher up would be just as spectacular. There are also video screens showing details in close-up. The show lasts about an hour and a half with an interval.

We received complimentary press tickets for the show.

8 comments:

  1. Oh I'm gutted we didn't go along now!! My dinosaur crazed 4 year old would of loved it but we were rather tired after his dinosaur themed birthday party!!

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    1. It is a brilliant show for little ones obsessed by dinosaurs!

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  2. This was on in Sheffield recently and my husband was desperate to go but didn't get round to it. Hopefully they will tour again. x

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    1. I hope they will, it seems to be touring continuously around the world so give it a couple of years!

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  3. Great review, gives me a really good picture of the show, after seeing your post on facebook, I checked it out and it is coming to Nottingham!

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    1. I hope that you get to go and see it!

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  4. The price did put us off but looks like it was worth every penny - so spectacular. Think my dino fan would have been unsettled though

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  5. Have to admit it was the ticket price that put us off - but sounds like it was worth every penny.

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