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Dinosaurs take to the streets ahead of show
Buy this photo » Dinosaurs take to the streets ahead of show
THE town centre resembled a scene from Jurassic Park yesterday afternoon as an Australovenator confronted shoppers and workers going about their daily business.
The life-sized replica of the carnivorous theropod, which is the most complete meat-eating dinosaur skeleton yet found in Australia, was met with screams of terror, nervous laughter and even a barking dog as it rampaged down Regent Street, running in and out of shops.
But although it might have been a bit intimidating (especially when it reared up on its hind legs and roared) that didn’t stop the crowds from gathering and taking plenty of pictures.
The creature is just one of those that can be see at Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo, which is on at the Wyvern Theatre until tomorrow.
Audiences have the chance to meet cute baby dinos as well as teeth-gnashing giants up close and personal.
Among those brave enough to follow the Australovenator around were Julie Rose, of Priory Vale, and her two-year-old daughter Ruby.
“It is absolutely fantastic,” said the mum-of-three.
“Ruby wasn’t too sure of it to begin with, but in the end she went up and stroked it on the nose.
“I know it was only a puppet but you can’t help but be a liitle apprehensive around it.
“It’s a brilliant way to promote the show though and I definitely plan on taking my children along.”
The appearance also brightened up a shopping trip for friends Rhiana Mills, Jess Shields, Lottey Matthews and Elen Pigott.
“I think it is one of the coolest things I have ever seen,” said 18-year-old student Rhiana.
“When we saw it from afar we all wondered what it was. It is brilliant.”
Fellow student Jess,18, agreed.
“It was crazy. The surprises in the charity shop were topped by the surprise dinosaur walking around the town centre.”
Zoo keeper Lindsey Chaplin, who helped to keep the dino in line, said the outing had been a success.
“He had a lovely time, although I’m not so sure if the same can be said for the residents of Swindon.
“I love seeing the reactions – especially the adults who stand there and say ‘it’s only a puppet’, and then they are usually the ones who run away screaming when he gets close to them.”
The show has come direct from Australia and Lindsey said our youngsters are definitely the more scared of the two.
“We find that English kids are significantly more terrified then Australian kids,” she said.
“That’s probably something to do with the fact they don’t grow up with any real predators – you don’t have to check your bed for spiders or avoid walking through long grass in bare feet because of snakes.
“Children here are definitely not expecting to see a dinosaur running through the town centre.”
Richard Loftus, the Wyvern Theatre’s marketing manager, said: “I find it genuinely exciting to take theatre out on the streets and to see people’s faces and it was clear everyone loved it.
“When you get out and about you can see the magic of theatre come alive, people’s faces light up and it is amazing.”
REVIEW OF ERTH'S DINOSAUR ZOO
AT THE start of the show, zoo keeper Lindsey reminds everyone dinosaurs aren’t around any more and that what we are about to see are only puppets.
She follows it by saying that her words were likely to be forgotten within seconds... and judging by the look on the faces of some members of the audience (young and old alike) as well as the squeals and screams that accompanied the appearance of some dinosaurs that she was absolutely right.
This stunning show, which comes all the way from Australia, focuses on some of the dinosaurs found Down Under, including baby dryosaurs, meganeuras, two leaellynasaura, an australovenator and a titanosaurus.
They moved throughout the audience and on the stage, delighting (and on occassion terrifying) those in the close vicinity. Some lucky youngsters got the chance to go up on stage and help feed, stroke and take care of the creatures – and even take part in daring ‘stunts’.
It certainly gets a reaction from all ages and everyone left the theatre with a smile of their faces.
- Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo is at the Wyvern Theatre until tomorrow. Tickets cost £13.50 (£16 for danger zone seats) or £50 for a family ticket (two adults, two children). Call 01793 524481 or visit wyverntheatre.org.uk
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