Review: The Lost World, The Hawth's Ampitheatre

Action from The Lost World
Action from The Lost World

There's something magical about open air theatre.

In recent years my family and I have seen Snow White, Wind in the Willows, Jesus Christ Superstar and Danny Champion of the World and now The Lost World.

The open air element gives it a different kind of atmosphere and the stage some wonderfully appropriate and natural backdrops.

And it was these backdrops that helped bring to life Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic story at the Hawth Theatre's Ampitheatre, produced by Illyria (the same company who did Danny the Champion of the World last year).

The story tells of four intrepid explorers, led by the redoubtable Professor Challenger, travel to an uncharted plateau in South America following a few scant directions scribbled in a sketchbook.

They find flora and fauna beyond their wildest dreams, become involved in tribal warfare between apemen and indigenous humans, and encounter terrifying dinosaurs previously believed to be extinct. But when their camera is destroyed in an accident what evidence can they produce to prove that these creatures actually exist? Unless, of course, they bring live specimens back to London in ‘unbreakable’ crates to reveal to an astounded public. What could go wrong eh?

Action from The Lost World

Action from The Lost World

The impressive cast of Adam Courting, Lee Peck, Isobelle Pippin, Matthew Rothwell, Jennifer Shakesby and Nick Taylor all have a lot of fun and are incredibly resourceful with their props.

Who knew umbrellas and a laundry tongs would make a convincing flock of Pterodactyls and that a dustbin lid and a stool would make a feisty little Triceratops?

The highlight of the show - and a favourite with the youngsters in the audience - was when the cast used puppetry for their bodies to convey they were far away. It was very skillful and very comedic.

The big set piece everyone was expecting was worth waiting for - even if the Tyrannosaurus did suffer a little with soft ground - while Jennifer Shakesby referenced one of my favourite scenes from Jurassic Park.

Action from The Lost World

Action from The Lost World

Illyria really know how to put on a good show and entertain adults and children alike. They are also doing the Mikado, Pride and Prejudice and the Emperor's New Clothes this summer. It's well worth catching up with them.

You can follow Illyria on twitter @illyriatheatre and find them on Facebook by clicking here