I had the opportunity to see How to Train Your Dragon live Spectacular last night at Consol Energy Center, and I have to say it was pretty spectacular. I went in knowing that the animatronic dragons would be pretty amazing, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the rest of the show was just as impressive.
When you take your seat (and will say, there is not a bad seat in the house), you see basically an empty stage with only one raised circle, and you wonder (or at least I did) how on earth they are going to portray the Scottish Highlands and villages and forests and seas. And then the show starts and you say, “Ohhhh…I get it.”
Basically, they paint the scenes with light. The background is projected onto the backdrop of the show area. Now don’t think that I am talking about a simple high school play production backdrop. No – I am talking about an amazingly detailed background, which moves and flows with the story.
When Hiccup is running through the village & forest, jumping from tree to tree, the combination of the scenery on the backdrop and the use of cables & tracks is amazing. Another scene takes place under water and the use of lighting, projections on the backdrop and floor, bubbles, and characters “swimming” around make you truly believe that they are under water.
One of my favorite effects of the show was probably the most low tech – the use of puppetry (of a sort). Lasers were projected in planes a couple of yards above the show floor, made to look like clouds or water and very basic, but lovely, dragon and ships on sticks were flying (or sailing) around, with the help of cast members with sticks (who you couldn’t see under the layer of lasers). It was a beautiful sight.
But of course, everyone wants to know about the biggest stars of the show: the dragons. And they did not disappoint. They are not only life sized (or what one would assume to be life sized for a mythical creature), but they moved in such a lifelike way that you forgot they weren’t actually real. Their tails & muscles moved along with their legs. They jumped & leapt. They blinked & twitched. The breathed smoke & fire. And the best part of all – they flew.
The look on the face on every single kid in the place when the first dragon flew around the place was priceless. The adults, too – everyone was pretty much amazed at the sight.
If you are on the fence about seeing this show – jump off immediately and get tickets – there are plenty still available. The prices are very reasonable, and worth every penny. Whether your kids are boys or girls, toddler or teens, this is an entertaining and fun show. We saw plenty of adults there without kids enjoying themselves as much as the kids were.
For little ones, the “scary factor” is pretty low – there are some mildly intense scenes with fire-breathing dragons, but the 3 ½ year old with us only got a little nervous until he saw that the dragons weren’t “bad guys” and then he was all smiles & cheers. But the show is still exciting enough to entertain older kids and adults.
If you plan to go to the show in Pittsburgh, there is a discount code available for tonight’s (Friday, 8/24) show. Just enter MOM in the general promo box on ticketmaster.com for 25% off SELECT seats. The same code will get you the discount for all weeknight shows in other cities, as well.
There is also a Living Social deal available for the Pittsburgh shows: https://www.livingsocial.com/events/436935-how-to-train-your-dragon-live-spectacular
Here’s a sneak peek at what you’ll see. Don’t miss it!
Disclosure: I was given free tickets to the show, but the opinions expressed are all mine