Chicago Theatre Review
Triassic Parq – Tourists Please Enjoy the Ride!
Triassic Parq The Musical – Circle Theatre
It had been a while since I willingly surrendered to a show I found suspect before I even arrived. Not being a huge fan of the dinosaur motif and continuous movie genre output, I landed back in time at the Circle Theatre space on Glenwood Ave in Rodgers Park.
Triassic Parq is a fun time!
You can hear, you can see, you can understand everyone. And all the prehistoric beasts have a great energy and message. This richly sung remount is the perfect fun summer show. See the fog, hear the steamy story and smile –it’s about dinosaurs after all.
Well, it’s a little bit about us too!
First, the setting is remarkable and from the moment you walk into the theater you are surrounded with the familiar iconic dinosaur movie looks. Jimmy Jagos, Erik S Barry, and Greg Pinsoneault deserve some visual love. This creative team sets the scene and puts you in the mood.
The music was fast, fun and really enjoyable. It has all the requisite tongue twisting clever lyrics and the just recognizable musical genres for our listening comfort. Justin Harnes was adorable in his star “Pianosaurus” moment, not to mention his work on the keyboard too. Mr. Benham’s music direction was tight and well-rehearsed.
Within the walls of Triassic Parq all the genetically built dinosaurs are female. When nature takes over during the course of the Parq’s existence, the gender feelings are switched, questioned and rejoiced. When one dino emerges as the spiritual leader and beckons all others to follow – or else, the questioning of faith and “who we really are inside” reveals itself to the most innocent of dinosaurs. Gender knows no lines as we contemplate with the players just what lies beyond that electrified fence. Relationships are found, lost and then found again. This Parq’s ride reminds of life’s fragility and true strength of nature.
It would be hard to pick out one outstanding dino from the herd performing on stage. Each person gives a sincere and dedicated performance. There work together brought a continuous wave of smiles and chuckles to audience and me.
Some highlights from inside the Parq would be: Veronica Garza (T-Rex 2) and her transition from female to male, friend to foe, and silly to serene; Erin Daley (T-Rex 1) and her broad strokes of fun and fabulous comic timing; Marissa Druzbanski (Velociraptor of Science) and her later number that brought down the house showcasing her deft comedy know how; Caitlin Boho (Morgan Freeman) and her strong opening bid to the audience. Spoiler alert – I was really disappointed Morgan Freeman got eaten so early.
Jacob Richard Axelson (Velociraptor of Faith) has a command of comedy, from his impassioned religiosity rumblings number to his knowing how to “work that costume”. Patrick Stengle (Mime-a-saurus) has a show stopping mime performance that proves he can be menacing with the best of the beasts. And last, but certainly not least, is the utter command of all things of prehistoric performance – Parker Guidry (Velociraptor of Innocence). Mr. Guidry moves and sings easily, bringing the audience into the setting and story with ease. Like a primal leading player, his range of emotions and heart felt performance put solidly on his side.
The entire cast was a pleasure to watch and listen to. The vocal crispness and sincerity is why this show worked for me. Under the direction of Tommy Bullington and Nicholas Reinhart, these two pulled out some detailed moves and attitudes for this show.
The costumes were amazing in their function and form thanks to Kat Sass. I was struck by the use of the finger claws so consistently. One or two claws out depending on which dinosaur, nice touch.
The subject matter on the surfaces seems aloof with spoof, but several times it challenges our conventional views and makes us confront what may be uncomfortable. I may never look at an elephant’s trunk the same, or dinosaur for that matter.
This prehistorically relevant jungle journey is a great 90 minute ride. It will make you smile, think, and listen. You may even look for the souvenir t-shirt, member, or mug on the way out.
Reviewed by Lazlo Collins
Triassic Parq continues through August, 13 Thursdays thru Saturdays at the Heartland Studio, 7016 N Glenwood Ave. in Rodgers Park – Chicago. Tickets can be purchased through www.circletheatre.com
Additional information about this and other fine Chicagoland productions can be found by visiting www.theatreinchicago.com