By Jeff Walsh
Transgender dinosaur musical.
I don't know where I first saw those three words together, but I was immediately hooked. The phrase prepared you in advance. You knew the show wasn't going to be serious. You knew it was a musical. And, most obviously, that there would be dinosaurs. The reality was even more fun.
This musical spoof of Jurassic Park, begins with Morgan Freeman explaining some of the backstory, by which I mean a tall white actor who introduces himself as Morgan Freeman, the character he will play for the duration of the show, who is often mistaken for Samuel L. Jackson by the cast.
But let's face it, the show is really about actors portraying dinosaurs while singing uptempo numbers, doing fun choreography, and questioning gender identity.
Considering the LGBT nature of the site, it is probably disingenuous to say this is a transgender show. Again, I read that phrase somewhere and it is what tipped me off to the existence of the show. But, if you remember from Jurassic Park, the dinosaurs cloned on the island were all female to ensure they couldn't reproduce, but then "nature found a way?" That way is the focus of Triassic Parq, when one of the female dinosaurs suddenly sprouts a penis. So, it is safer to say the show deals in gender issues and questioning the meaning of gender identity, moreso than being transgender.
But, to be fair, that is way too nerdy and academic to describe what is just a crazy, fun, joyous, superfun show. Performed in 90 minutes with no intermission, the show never wears out its welcome. The acting is top notch, as every cast member is given amazing moments to shine, and no one missed that opportunity. Alex Wyse was particularly velocirapturous in the lead role, and Lindsay Nicole Chambers used her dino teeth to chew as much scenery as possible (you can't really go over the top in a gender-bending dinosaur musical). Wyse and Chambers appeared together recently in the gone-too-soon musical Lysistrata Jones, so it was nice seeing them shine again in another winning ensemble, hopefully one that isn't extinct as quickly this time.
The story is as silly as you expect and desire, which seems very on par with the musical parody treatment of Silence of the Lambs currently playing in the East Village. In that you're getting a very basic treatment of a story you already know, where the parody and wacky moments are given more importance than story, as well they should be. If there is any weak element, it would probably be the songs, in the sense that they are all fun and enjoyable in the moment, but... I'm not really humming any of them out of the theater (with all due respect to Stephen Sondheim, who says that is a horrible metric for the effectiveness of a show's musical numbers).
But, again, it is a crazy musical parody of Jurassic Park, where even Park is changed to Parq to supposedly ward off Spielberg's legal team. But it's all OK because the Q in Parq stands for truth.
Does that make sense? Of course not. But you'll be too busy smiling, laughing, enjoying yourself, and glad you're not seated in the onstage Splash Zone to care that a lot of the elements don't add up, but still result in a crazy, good time.
For more information, or to buy tickets, go to http://triassicparq.com/