For the first time, Australian audiences have the chance to witness a “theological dinosaur sex comedy 65 million years in the making”, according to the gang at Squabbalogic.
Always up for making their repertoire even more eclectic, the exciting Sydney independent music theatre company has just commenced a two-and-a-half week run of Triassic Parq.
Based on a film so gargantuan in size that its name doesn’t require mentioning, this musical revisits the 1993 blockbuster from the dinosaurs’ perspective. It tells the story of a female T-Rex who suddenly becomes male, and the entire pack is forced to question their identity, gender, and what is possible – examining love, faith and science through a comical lens…all with singing dinosaurs!
Reading the synopsis, it’s reasonable for one to expect a riot of an evening at Triassic Parq. “The synopsis doesn’t even do it justice,” says artistic director of Squabbalogic and show director, Jay James-Moody. “Having now seen the finished show…it is very unique and really off the wall. It’s very, very strange but so much fun!”
Triassic Parq was originally produced in 2010 at the New York International Fringe Festival. “It did the fringe festival and then it did an off-Broadway run,” Mr James-Moody says. “And then it underwent more revision and has since done productions in LA and around America.”
Mr James-Moody admits he’s been a fan of Triassic Parq sits its early days, when he came across the musical on an American theatre website. “It immediately caught my interest,” he says. “I’m a big Jurassic Park fan, so I’ve been following it…”
But how did it ultimately come to be that the singing and dancing dinosaurs ventured across the Pacific and onto Australian shores? “A mutual friend of myself and the New York producer put us both in touch right when we were programming our current season, and they were looking for international people to produce the show,” says Mr James-Moody. “I looked at the calendar and saw that we had a space in June, and that was also when the new Jurassic Park film was coming out, so it all just seemed to make sense to me.”
The experience of readying the production for its first Australian audience has been an interesting process for Mr James-Moody, who says it’s somewhat of a contrast to the previous two Squabbalogic musicals, both of which featured large casts. “It was kind of weird going back to such a small show. It’s the smallest cast that we’ve had in a really long time – only six people in it. So I was often looking around going, ‘Is everyone here?’ I always felt like we were missing people.”
But while his cast may be small, there is no shortage of talent. Mr James-Moody is full of praise for those on board, who include Monique Sallé, Adéle Parkinson, Blake Erickson, Rob Johnson, Keira Daley and Mark Chamberlain. “It’s a great group of people and they’re so fun and really, really brave”, he tells Theatre People. “This show asks a lot of them as actors, and not just in terms of singing and dancing, but to put themselves out on stage and say to the audience, ‘I’m playing a tyrannosaurus’, ‘I’m playing a velociraptor’ and, among other things, some very crazy stage direction. When you come and see the show, you’ll know what I’m talking about!”
“They’ve been so bold and brave, and that’s been a lot of fun to watch.”
And in case anyone is left with any doubt as to whether to make their way down to the Seymour Centre for this Australian premiere, perhaps Mr James-Moody’s own description will be all that is needed to seal the deal. “To put it in a nutshell, this is essentially Rocky Horror meets Jurassic Park, and when those two worlds meet, you don’t want to be the one that misses out on seeing exactly what that means. You’re going to see dinosaurs singing [and] dancing, sex changes, erotic dances of seduction by a tyrannosaurus and much, much more! It’s pretty tantalising!”
Triassic Parq plays at the Seymour Centre, Sydney from 17th June – 4th July
Tickets start at $30 and can be purchased here.