"Vivid and articulate tragicomic naturalism"
by Rachel Knightley for remotegoat on 01/07/16

Sharp survival humour and a wealth of knowledge, both of his subject and craft, are evident in every element of Dinosaur Dreams. Charlie, a film student, has been hosptialised after a ‘psychotic episode’ and is ambivalent towards a journey of self-discovery that must begin with the opportunity to talk about what he has previously blocked out. Sam Glossop’s sound design creates a perfect blend with writer-director Will Adophy’s gentle economy and minimalism.

The mental health professionals who interact with Charlie are – in an unusual and very sensible decision – shown only as professional sides, with the odd clue to who’s beneath. Examples of how they interact with him make their reasons and process clear, without ever descending to the preachy. Leigh-Anne Gilbert is absolutely convincing as Shivonne, supportively yet unsentimentally caring and coping with the job in front of her. Similarly, Nigel Fyfe creates a neatly selfless, understated reality as Dr Bailey, allowing the patient centre-stage.

Ben Manz brings a strong centre to the production, a convincing cocktail of ambivalence, fury and vulnerability. Ella Road’s exquisite comic timing as fellow-patient ‘Ruby’ never competes with bold emotional truth. The moments where Louise Lingwood as ‘Louise’, Charlie’s mother, must silently take in the event in their past that was her son’s trigger is nuanced, courageous and a stand-out moment in an already extraordinary production.

This production informs and educates without ever losing the entertaining. Each scene and character is integral, fully formed and delivered with consistent truth and vivid naturalism. Characters are well cast and well selected to show a microcosm of Charlie’s past and present, never stepping out of voice to communicate the message that learning to talk about what has happened is the path to self-acceptance and future. We are never preached to, never ‘told’ a thing, yet shown a world of character information and situational insight by a company that wear their depth with lightness and grace.

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