ROARING back to life for another bite are the monstrous T-rex and other life-size dinosaurs who are providing an eggs-tra special treat over Easter at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena, writes Graham Walker.
Walking With Dinosaurs The Arena Spectacular, showcasing dinosaurs from the egg to extinction, is based on the BAFTA award-winning BBC TV series, featuring robotic and costumed performers who bring the greatest prehistoric jungle creatures back to life.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our video report, including show hioghlights, crew interviews and the verdict of families after the first night at Sheffield Motorpoint Arena.
The biggest star of the live show – a 23ft tall and 42ft long snarling, slashing, tyrannosaurus rex – is operated by three people and is the world’s most expensive radio-controlled toy, costing about $1 million.
When the baby T-rex cries for help, as two other deadly dinosaurs corner it, mum makes her entrance with a roar as loud as a jumbo jet on take-off.
It is pure theatre, informative and at times as entertaining as any of those old dinosaur rockers who have also played arenas and at one time ruled the world.
Walking With Dinosaurs is breathtaking, by sheer scale alone. The 56ft long brachiosaurus fills the floor and its head, at the end of the longest neck in history, sticks out above the audience – better than any 3D movie. This is as real as dinosaurs get.
Merging scientific accuracy, high-tech animatronic puppetry and cinematic realism, it is not only the children who are left wide-eyed at these colossal creatures.
Expertly narrated, it features 20 life-size dinosaurs and 10 species, including the stegosaurus, torosaurus and raptors, telling the story of their 200-million-year global domination.
Oceans form, volcanoes erupt, a forest catches fire – all leading to the impact of the massive comet, which struck the Earth, and forced the extinction of the dinosaurs about 66 million years ago.
Ian Waller, the show’s resident director, says: “We see dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes come to life and interact – roar, scream and eat each other. A big spectacular.” He laughs: “A normal night out in Sheffield.
“We take people on a journey from the egg, to the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
“There’s nothing on this scale. It’s a one-off.
“All our dinosaurs are based on the biggest skeleton of that species ever found. They are life-size. It’s so scary walking next to them. They are massive.”
“Everyone loves dinosaurs, right?”
South Yorkshire families certainly do. Thousands have already booked to see the show which runs until Monday. The first night crowd agreed, it was dino-mite.
Star tickets winner Laura Clegg, of Sheffield, said: “It was absolutely fantastic. Beyond our expectations.”
Kathryn Epworth, of Sheffield, who also won a tour backstage after the show, said: “It was fantastic. We really loved it. It was amazing.”
Dinosaur fans travelled from all over the region. Travis Speight , of Doncaster, said: “It was brilliant. I really enjoyed it.” Mum Doreen added: “We were absolutely blown away. Amazing.”
Tracy Walker said: It was fantastic. A truly spectacular show.”
Little Tom Keane, aged four, of Barnsley, a big dinosaur fan summed it all up in one word – ‘fabulous’.
Mum Martine said: “Absolutely brilliant. Supersonic.” And dad Chris said: “It was fab. Definitely coming back again.”
* Walking With Dinosaurs is at Sheffield Motorpoint Arena until Monday, April 1. Tickets are £25, £35 and £45, with £105 family of four tickets - booking fee may apply. Call 0114 256 5656 or book online at www.motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk. Also book on The Star’s what’s on guide, at www.wow247.co.uk and see www.dinosaurlive.com.