Dick Jokes Remain Far From Extinct in Blank Canvas Theatre's 'Triassic Park, the Musical'

There are two things most young boys are immensely interested in: dinosaurs and their own penises. And, evidently, most males never completely lose their focus on those two objects of affection.
This is especially true with Triassic Parq, the Musical, now at Blank Canvas Theatre. This almost-parody of the Jurassic Park movies delves into the dino culture of a similar fictional theme park, populated by all-female, test tube creatures (so there will be no unauthorized reproduction). But thanks to a wild strand of frog DNA, T-Rex 2 grows a penis, and the show goes off fully “cocked.”
Indeed, you might as well call this show “Triassic Phallus,” considering how dick-obsessed it is. The play’s grown-up boy creators—music by Marshall Pailet, book and lyrics by Pailet, Bryce Norritz and Steve Wargo—have a definite hard-on for “dude sticks.” And it’s all funny in a junior high locker room way, for a while.
But oddly enough, the whole enterprise loses some steam when it ventures into deep thinking. The dino leader, Velociraptor of Faith (Aaron Patterson), collides intellectually with the Velociraptor of Science (Eryn Reynolds), while the Velociraptor of Innocence (Weley Allen) gets confused in the process. Eventually, Innocence is boinked by the newly equipped T-Rex 2 (Neely Gevaart), a former female who now exhibits distressingly masculine traits.
If you laugh uncontrollably and repeatedly at dick jokes and chicks wearing strap-ons, this is the show for you. Just understand that the music is often of the nursery rhyme variety, and the lyrics are pretty basic. As T-Rex 2 laments (or celebrates?): “My beard will grow/I have no flow.”
As always, director Patrick Ciamacco keeps the pace sprightly and gets a lot out of his cast. Kate Leigh Michalski as T-Rex 1 and Gevaart have powerful singing chops. But Patterson is often hard to hear when speaking and Michael Crowley could do more to generate laughs as both the Mime-a-saurus and a putative Morgan Freeman narrator. Allen is a performer with immense magnetism and focus, and he almost makes you care about Innocence. But his singing voice too often veers into uncomfortable nasal regions. And at times, the ensemble singing is pretty brutal.
There are some stellar moments, such as two characters providing a remarkably concise definition of chaos theory, a cow dinner-on-a-string, and then there’s the staging of an orgasm that looks absolutely orgasmic. But this thinly-plotted Parq has a few too many one-note gags to remain fully erect for 80 minutes.

Triassic Parq
Through June 27 at Blank Canvas Theatre, 78th Street Studio, W. 78th Street, 440-941-0458.

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Christine Howey

Christine Howey has been reviewing theater since 1997, first at Cleveland Free Times and then for other publications including City Pages in Minneapolis, MN and The Plain Dealer. Her blog, Rave and Pan, also features her play reviews. Christine is a former stage actor and director, primarily at Dobama Theatre...
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