Roll-up for the dino show:You'll be glad-u-saurus
Dinosaur World Live, The Queen of Flanders in Assembly Festival Garden, 15 July-1 August
By Hilary Hopker Imagine you saw a door somewhere on an ordinary Coventry street, stepped through it and found a new place you never knew existed.
Stepping into the Assembly Festival Gardens for this show was just like that.
If you haven't been yet, the Assembly Gardens is a brand-new city centre venue. Its almost like a mini Godiva Festival set up, with a central (fake) grassed area filled with trestle tables, a covered over stage and two tents.
This show is in the Queen of Flanders tent, which from the inside is a hybrid of a theatre and a circus big top, certainly a cut way above the squashed grass interiors of most festival tents. The show is hosted by Miranda, who grew up surrounded by dinosaurs on a far away island, who has brought them to meet people in Coventry. After that scene setting there really isn't much of a plot, but that's hardly the point - the dinosaurs are the stars of the show.
There's a series of flesh and vegetable eating dinosaur puppets on a life like scale. If you've ever seen the puppetry of War Horse the stage show, this is very similar. Giant dinosaur puppets are worked by adult puppeteers who, my son assures me, 'make all the noises.'
You get to guess the carnivore or herbivore and meet a few family favourites - mine is always Triceratops by the way. Of course no dinosaur show would be complete without T-Rex, who stomps onto stage surrounded by green smoke. The show bills itself as being for all the family, but at nine my son was definitely one of the oldest kids there by a few years. He was enraptured by the puppeteering but the magic and dino facts are definitely pitched at a younger age level. I glanced at my son several times during the show and he was complete entranced. Even though there's no audience interaction under the current restrictions, this is still kid's theatre at its best. His verdict as we stepped back out of the magic door back onto the ordinary Coventry street? 'It was great and I loved the baby dinos best.'