Sunday, April 1, 2012

Dragons and Break Dancing Vikings

The closest you will come to seeing real dragons

Words cannot express how amazing the How to Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular was. Wow. Just wow. I am a giant child, I know this, my friend who came with me was sitting the entire time watching me stroke my new stuffed dragon toy like it was a baby with an expression of "You can't be sane".

Although after I reminded him he was the one who volunteered to come see the show with me, he promptly shut up and we both regressed to ten-year-old versions of ourselves. Although I don't think we were the only adult children amongst the see of toddlers and chaperones, we were probably the only ones to get super excited any time anything happened. And I do mean anything. I was excited the lighting guys were being hoisted into position. I was excited when the entire stage (floor, ceiling, and all of the back wall) came alive and moved around. I was excited when the images being projected onto the stage were perfectly coordinated with the actors to really look like they were drawing on the ground or setting something on fire or exploding.

I got REALLY excited when the dragons came out.

It genuinely looks real
I got EXTRA excited when the actors were flying around the stage.

I was extremely jealous of the actors who not only were allowed to FLY ON DRAGONS but also physically capable of running up walls, sliding across the stage, doing back flips and break dancing. I'm just sitting dumbfound in my seat thinking to myself "Hot damn I need to learn martial arts. If I learn martial arts, I obviously get to ride a dragon".

My Australian pride was bursting a little bit since the lead roles were played by not one but two Australian actors, one of which is from my own state of Queensland. I've got to give a shout-out to both Rarmian Newton and Sarah McCreanor for their amazing performances as Hiccup and Astrid that looked spectacular and oh so tiring. Not many actors are trained to run up walls, fly on dragons or be flung through the air with fire-balls.

Just for a moment, imagine it's real.

Granted this was a kids show and the animatronic dragons, which were highly advanced and amazing, were still a bit slow. This obviously didn't take the magic away for me at all because my mouth was open throughout the performance, alongside the mouth of my friend, occasionally turning to each other to whisper something along the lines of "I want that", "So cool!", "I wish I could do that" and "Holy sh*t that's cool!". All the while I was clutching my plush toothless toy uttering My Precious.

Hot damn that's complicated.

This production was insane. The behind the scenes production video I watched before the show did not exaggerate the amount of detail, precision, work and practice that went into this show. The flight track itself takes up the entire floor stage area before being hoisted into the air. Each dragon is operated by at least one technician hidden some where nearby and requires precise control, timing and coordination with the stage actors to make it seem realistic. It's all about timing, big movements, and a butt load of smoke machines.

I'm really glad they made the book into a film. I am even more glad they turned the film into a show. I'm super duper glad they put effort into making it one hell of an amazing performance. My inner child burst out watching this show and  revitalised my imagination in the best way. I urge anyone who has the time, anyone who loves dragons, anyone with a child or a friend or the confidence to see things alone to see this show.

The show has passed Melbourne and Sydney and is just finishing up in Brisbane, but will be moving to New Zealand and heading to America soon enough. Go see it. No matter what your age, go see it. It has dragons! DRAGONS!

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