FRINGE 2017: 'My Darling Dilophosaurus'

This amusing production tells the story of a girl and her dinosaur.

The music sets the stage: John Williams’ theme from Steven Spielberg’s historic, prehistoric blockbuster Jurassic Park. In his program notes, writer-director Sean P. Mette says he hopes you’ll “find some of the magic that you had when you were a kid, when dinosaurs filled your imaginations with limitless possibilities.” Mette, a regular with OTRimprov and Madcap Puppets, has performed onstage locally with The Carnegie, Covedale Center and Know Theatre. He puts his talent and comic timing to good use directing My Darling Dilophosaurus, his amusing tale about a girl and her dinosaur. Autumn Kaleidoscope, a Cincinnati theatrical-based production company, stages Mette’s fanciful love story that challenges us to redefine what is normal.

The show’s title character, Deanna the Dilophosaurus, is a wonderful creature brought to life by Madcap Puppets. She’s huge and delivers big time. Kudos to Michael Galusick and Mandy Goodwin for their expert skill operating the puppet and giving her a “darling” personality.

Laura Berkemeier is Artemis Alice Lattimer, “Artie,” whose unabashed gleeful enthusiasm for paleontology sabotages her human relationship with her more serious girlfriend, Claudia Betting (Sara Kenny). Artie takes drastic measures as she desperately tries to prove to Claudia that she can “care about another living being.” Andrew Ian Adams and Cassidy Steele round out the cast. Kenny as Artie’s love interest and Adams as Artie’s best male friend give strong performances. With Steele, they are hilarious in additional roles as the story unfolds. 

Nevertheless, the star is “the obscure dinosaur for most of its existence,” according to the program notes, “until Jurassic Park brought this theropod to the main stage.” Often misunderstood — did it have feathers or not? — the Dilophosaurus in this production wins your heart. And a bonus: You’ll learn to pronounce Dilophosaurus correctly! 

The CINCINNATI FRINGE FESTIVAL continues through June 11. Find CityBeat reviews of 41 early performances here. For a full schedule and more info about Fringe, visit

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