Review: THE COLOUR OF DINOSAURS, Polka Theatre

A delightful family show that celebrates not only science and discovery but diversity and inclusion

By: May. 20, 2024
Review: THE COLOUR OF DINOSAURS, Polka Theatre
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Review: THE COLOUR OF DINOSAURS, Polka Theatre

“Our differences bring us together in a colourful explosion of who we are”

The Colour of Dinosaurs, devised and performed by Dom Coyote, Lloyd Coleman, Jakob Vinther, Victoria Oruwari, Harry Miller, Roxana Vilk, has arrived at the Polka Theatre. Directed by Coyote, the show explores how a palaeontologist, Dr. Jakob Vinther, used melanin to discover what the colours of dinosaurs actually were. Dr. Vinther, along with a band, tells the story of his discovery through song, dance and audience interaction. 

All of the songs, composed by Coleman, not only have lyrics that are easy for everyone to understand but fantastic beats as well. “Sausages and Meatballs,” uses the two foods to help the audience understand the shape of melanin, “Dee the Psittacoasurus, introduces us to our main dinosaur of the hour and “Different Voices, Different Colours,” is a gorgeous song in which Oruwari gives a stunning operatic performance about her life with synesthesia. 

The dinosaur puppet, designed by Saskia Tomlinson, is simple yet effective, making for a fun moment in which Vilk chases Coyote around the theatre as a dinosaur attempting to eat Dee, occasionally snapping at audience members who were screaming with delight (no one appeared to be frightened, which is a good sign). Combined with videos, also designed by Tomlinson, the dinosaurs are able to appear on stage without any complications, including some great moments combining the video and puppetry using shadows on a screen. 

Of course, there are the science aspects of the show, which are just as delightful as the song and dance! I particularly loved when the audience was shown different fossils, including “Simon” the sinosauropteryx, the first dinosaur discovered with feathers, fossilised squid ink to show the longevity of melanin and even our own dinosaur, Dee, herself! Together, the audience members and the band become “dinosaur detectives,” learning from Dr. Vinther about how fossils are made and learning about the life of Dee the Psittacoasurus, whose fossils were discovered in what used to be a lake in modern-day China. 

In a surprising yet lovely twist, the show takes some time away from dinosaurs and instead focuses on the performers themselves, who each share something that makes them unique and how they have learned to accept and love themselves.

Oruwari reveals that she has synesthesia, meaning that she sees colours while hearing noises, and she tells both her bandmates and some lucky audience members what colours their voices are. Coleman talks about his experiences with albinism but truly expresses how he feels through a beautiful clarinet solo. Coyote, however, is upset because he does not know his colour and has no story to tell, a sombre moment that is turned uplifting by the band members cheering him up. 

The Colour of Dinosaurs is a delightful family show that celebrates not only science and discovery but diversity and inclusion. Coyote, Coleman, Vinther, Oruwari, Miller and Vilk have come together and created a truly wonderful show that audiences of all ages will enjoy and, hopefully, learn something from!

The Colour of Dinosaurs runs until 9 June at the Polka Theatre.

Photo Credit: Paul Blakemore


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