BOTTOM LINE: Jurassic Parq: The Broadway Musical spoofs the movie with trannie dinos, Morgan Freeman, and the age-old debate of science vs. religion. Hilarity ensues.
Jurassic Parq: The Broadway Musical is a fun, fanciful farce where, on a set that looks like Stonehenge, a tribe of actors playing dinosaurs enacts a melodramatic prequel to the beloved movie of a similar name. This musical spoof is replete with self-referential humor, menstrual jokes, mime, reverse drag, and a dirty-talking grandma. It's Xanadu meets Spamalot, but on an off-off-Broadway stage.
Director Marshall Pailet makes a limited budget go far with a savvy use of materials and design elements. He creates a cohesive, charming world for Jurassic Parq — a playground for the performers and audiences alike.
The cast has several standouts. Natalie Bradshaw, as T-Rex 2, has a sweet, versatile voice and solid comic talent. John Jeffrey Martin brings charisma and sex appeal to the Velociraptor of Faith. Best of all, Mary Ellen Ashley's kooky, old-broad-style humor as the Velociraptor of Science steals the show.
Unfortunately the costumes are a weak point in the show. When a production's big sell is dinosaurs, seeing chorines merely dressed in black spandex and swathed fabric disappoints. Couldn't we at least get some face paint? The only "dinosaur" replication comes when the cast remember to hold their fingers out like claws. They forget often. As for the music, the score contains a great variety of styles, but with the frequent reprises I still felt like I was hearing the same song over and over.
The mainstay of the humor comes from penis jokes and references to Jurassic Park proper. The first subject provides laughs throughout. With the latter, the humor starts a little clumsily, as if the company does not want to break copyright laws, but then grows to full force by the end of the show. When the ensemble sings their final number, the comedy is immaculate, the music soars, and the audience is satisfied. Jurassic Parq is one of the best musicals in the Fringe, and perfectly suited to the festival's tone.
(Jurassic Parq plays at The Ellen Stewart Theatre at La MaMa, 66-68 East 4th Street between Bowery and 2nd Avenue, through August 27th. Remaining performances are Wednesday 8/25 at 7:45pm and Friday, August 8/27 at 4pm. For more information visit www.jurassicparq.blogspot.com. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door, and are available at FringeNYC.com, by calling 866.468.7619, or in person at FringeCENTRAL, located at 1 East 8th Street at 5th Avenue . There is NO LATE SEATING for Fringe NYC shows.)