Ah, Edinburgh. The Festival. A broad and bewildering mix of comedy, one-man shows, satire, musicals and epic tales of pre-history.
Dinosaur Planet offers all of the above and more in an hour-long extravaganza. It’s an everyday tale of until-recently-extinct creatures and the evisceration that ensues when it turns out that they’re not only alive, but smarter than your average human – “Dinosaur philosophers in space”, as the song goes.
The intrepid audience therefore embark on a journey through space and time via Norwich in MJ Hibbett’s one-man rock opera. It stars Terry, played by a handsome singer-songwriter, who battles adinosaur invasion aided only by his grandad (played by Simon Callow) and The General (the grumpy woman off Dragon’s Den, in an inspired piece of casting).
These are of course only suggestions for the movie in your head, as this show’s cast is one man and his guitar. Any lavish sets or CGI are painted in in the minds of the audience, who are also called to provide backing on the opening theme – “Dinosaur Planet, ooh-wee-ooh.”
We’re also advised that Axl Rose may have no part to play in the soundtrack, which includes such instant classics as ‘Battle for Peterborough’ but quite who will provide the CGI voices of the dinosaurs or (SPOILER ALERT!) the rather arrogant 300 foot high robots is to be decided. I’m betting on Tom Hanks, or since they inexplicably talk like pirates, Johnny Depp. There’s also plenty for any science buffs present with meteorites, spark plugs and volcanoes all somehow helping the improbable plot fall into place.
I will refrain from giving away the ending, but given that the closing epic song is a bastard hybrid of Billy Bragg and Scorpions, you can imagine that a titanic struggle for mankind is on the cards.
Hibbett as usual brings us a personable chatty show with some top-notch tunes to go with the banter and ‘script’. Regular backing band the Validators may well record a full-band version of the soundtrack, while the rights to the blockbuster movie presumably will being fought over by Spielberg and Lucas after the Edinburgh run is over. Take the opportunity to see Dinosaur Planet while it’s small – and while you still can…