Grow Your Own Dinosaur - homegrown talent

Grow your own dinosaur, please note this woman is a professional do not attempt in your own backyard

Even with the particular staging of Grow Your Own Dinosaur that I took in (starting at the ripe hour of 11 pm on a Sunday night), there was a sizable audience and an energetic cast.

I didn’t quite know what to expect from this show and I was pleasantly surprised. The play is about a college student named Samantha who brings home one of those "grow your own dinosaur" sponge toys on a whim, only to find that it not only grows - but comes to life. And this dinosaur known as Birch seems to know the real Samantha, not the one we've seen that’s been trapped in a rut.

This is an energized and witty script. That’s not to say that there weren’t some moments in the play that dragged (it could be shortened a bit), but there was some very clever writing from Julia Dillon-Davis, who also plays Samantha. Her character is the glue that holds the piece together, and she handles the role well (she does speed up her own lines at times, making them difficult to catch, however). The “homegrown dinosaur” is portrayed by Scott Hendrickson, who has had a busy few months as this is his sixth(!) production since May. He plays Birch with a real swaggering charm. James Avramenko plays Cory, and with his limited time on stage does a good job of playing the oft-jilted boyfriend.

However, the cast member that really stands out is Emily Piggford. She’s fantastic as the overbearing roommate, Emma-Kate. She shines with every line she delivers, and had me looking forward to every appearance she made. I hope to see more of her on the local stage.

Grow Your own Dinosaur is a refreshing piece of theatre that showcases the talents of some of Victoria’s up and coming talents. It’s great to see we “grow our own” just fine here.

Grow Your Own Dinosaur; written by Julia Dillon-Davis; produced by Vula Productions. Part of the 2008 Victoria Fringe Festival. Remaining shows at Venue 3 (Wood Hall) on the following dates: Tue 26 6:00 • Sat 30 1:00 • Sun 31 3:45. For more information, trample, rumble, waddle – whatever the hell dinosaurs do – over to this dinosaur-friendly place.

By Mike Vardy