Humans are going extinct. Or, at least, in the face of global warming, ongoing social and political tensions, and a rampant abundance of internet memes, the threat certainly seems very real.
Luckily for us feeble apes, we are in the more than capable (albeit tiny and not extremely dextrous) hands of three “super qualified giant lizards”, experts in the field, who have a few sage lessons to “help you face your extinction with distinction” in Dancing with Dinosaurs, a new cabaret, debuting at La Mama as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2015.
Settle in for an evening of apocalyptic mayhem, and a journey that spans at least a couple of hundred million years, as Tom-Rex (Tom Albert), Elo-Opteryx (Eloise Maree) and Tri-Caito-Tops (Caitlin Armstrong) walk (or rather stomp) us through the various facets of our unavoidable and imminent demise.
For a show that presents itself aesthetically as something you’d be more likely to stumble across at three o’clock in the afternoon on kids TV, Dancing with Dinosaurs is a surprisingly grown-up show. The Brisbane-based troupe present an imaginative retelling of the systematic destruction of these giant reptiles, interspersing historical fact with their own mocked-up social quandaries, political struggles, and philosophical rumination, providing an innovative satirical allegory of contemporary Australian culture and our own current state of affairs.
With catchy original tunes and witty dialogue, the trio balance the absurdity of dinosaur anatomy, the tragedy of ill-fated romance, and the rise of chickens as the next globally dominant super-species, with more mature topics of racial discrimination, cultural misappropriation, and the oppression of social minorities. Despite the weight of some of these topics, the group handle their subject matter with a decided levity and disarming comedic nihilism that makes each concept both accessible and engaging.
The show is carried by strong performances from each member of the ensemble, whose strong vocal command and animated physical dynamism invigorate this creatively liberated science lesson and allows it to shine as an intelligent, sexy and exceedingly funny new work.