Dragons and Mythical Beasts at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre – review

The fantastical adventure is for kids of all ages

Dragons and Mythical Beasts
Dragons and Mythical Beasts
© Mark Senior

The team behind 2018's Dinosaur World Live has returned to the Open Air Theatre with another parade of magnificent puppet creatures, this time venturing into the magical realm.

We are on a mission to be heroes. Under the tutelage of Dave (Ben Galpin), who has waited 3,000 years for this moment and has a few daddy issues to boot, we must retrieve six items from a range of mythical creatures in order to meet mega boss The Indrik.

Young volunteers are called up by Dave to carry out the tasks, which range from coaxing a diamond from the Stone Troll, a Terry Pratchett-inspired rock man who eats coal, to collecting a sample of hoof from a huge prancing unicorn, the appearance of which causes general rapture.

All are conjured by a team of puppeteers who lend real sensitivity to the movements and ensure Max Humphries' designs come to thrilling life. They also provide a gamut of sound effects from whinnies to squeaky voiced fairies. Like ventriloquists, they have an ability to act whilst remaining completely blank-faced.

It's a pity the soundtrack skipped several times, reminding us the music isn't live (we're teased by glimpses of the Carousel orchestra stands). And though writer/co-director Derek Bond's script suffers from information overload at the beginning, it soon settles into a pleasing rhythm.

All told this is a huge amount of fun that will have the little ones jumping in their seats and adults frantically snapping shots of unicorns and Indriks (spoiler alert). And the overriding message, that kindness to nature rather than aggression is the truly heroic choice, feels just right for the times.