The show builds nicely from the opening scenes that take place in front of a giant aquarium, to the final scenes when the ancient marine animals surround and loom over the audience.
Not-quite-reliable “marketing manager” Drew begins by explaining the origins of life on Earth. Before long, marine biologist Catherine steps in to set him straight on some amusingly erroneous information.
The action takes off when Catherine is joined by a group of kitted-up young interns inside the aquarium. Soon, thanks to some bumbling by Drew, the interns – and the audience – are washed into the open ocean, where we encounter bioluminescent deep-sea creatures, baby plesiosaurs, and, eventually, some gigantic ancient beasts.
This companion piece to Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo, also part of the Festival program, utilises enormous puppets, clever lighting, and some subtle bubble effects that turn the Norwood Concert Hall stage into a surprisingly convincing underwater world.
The real magic happens when the creatures start to “swim” over and around the audience, with my expert reviewing companion – my nine-year-old niece Charlotte – particularly enjoying the moment when some luminous creatures “crowd surfed” over our heads.
It’s a short show – under an hour – and suitable for everyone over the age of five.
Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium is playing at the Norwood Concert Hall until Sunday, March 13.
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