If you’re the kind of person who likes to immerse yourself in a world full of mystical adventure, The Lost World is a play you should see this summer. The play is based on the book of the same name, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, an imaginative man who inspired many popular pieces of work including King Kong, Alien, Godzilla and many other fantastical monster stories. He is also the author of the infamous Sherlock Holmes novels which captivated audiences everywhere. In this story, a group of travellers explore an uncharted plateau in South America. Going only by a few rough directions scribbled in a notebook, they find themselves encountering some prehistoric animals. Their cameras, through the chaos of it all, get totally destroyed and the explorers struggle to find a way of showing the rest of the world that these beastly creatures truly exist.
In the past, many fictional scenarios have been created in which creatures of an unusual or mystical nature find their way into corrupting our human world. However, The Lost World is unique in that the characters bring more than just a story back from their adventures. Only when the group bring the dinosaurs home – in what they believe to be ‘unbreakable’ crates – does the story takes a dynamical turn.
Oliver, the artistic director and founder of theatre company, Illyria, composed the play. He describes how faithful it is to the original book. “It develops the idea of the consequences of bringing a dinosaur home to exhibit it. But the play differs from the book in that it doesn’t take itself too seriously! It is a Ripping Yarns-style adventure with a few scares and lots of laughs!”
He goes on to explain, “It involves many different styles of storytelling, object manipulation and puppetry – sometimes on an extremely large scale! There is a cast of six professional actors and a fully-orchestrated soundtrack to heighten the excitement.” The amazing and huge dinosaur puppets are cleverly worked to make audiences almost believe they might be real. The dinosaurs have even been likened to being scarier than seagulls – and of course we all know how terrifying they can be!
Illyria has an unbeaten reputation for hosting some marvellous open-air theatre shows, having travelled around Europe, the United States and Canada. Their family-friendly shows, enchanting audiences of all ages, have also won them four international Best Performance awards and attracted numerous 5-star and Critics’ Choice reviews for the amazing approach they take to reviving Shakespeare’s plays. Their depiction of this story makes them the first company to tackle a show in this genre – and to this extent.
This is, in fact, the only performance in the country to feature life-size and fully mobile dinosaurs. In the relaxed setting of Brighton Open Air Theatre, this play has a lot to offer; comedy, escapades and a colourful aesthetic for a great day or evening out. “If you want an exciting storyline but with tongue-in-cheek performances… if you want a show to entertain children and adults alike, then is the show to see.”
The Lost World comes to Brighton Open Air Theatre on Thurs 10 – Sat 12 Aug.