LIKE the lighting, the latest Oxford University student production has a dark side to it.

The absurd, darkly comic Pterodactyls has been haunting the Oxford Playhouse Burton Taylor studio this week.

It follows the story of a son telling his family he has Aids as an unsettling dinosaur skeleton is assembled in the living room.

Geography student Heloise Lowenthal, 19, plays daughter Emma.

The 19-year-old said: “It looks at a dysfunctional family in 1990 Philadelphia which is falling apart.

“There are constant references to dinosaurs, as if to say this typical American family has run its course, and is becoming extinct.

“It has been really, really fun. We had a great cast and it has been nice because we are all really frank about the subjects in the play.”

Written by Philadelphian playwright Nicky Silver, Pterodactyls was first performed at the Vineyard Theatre, New York, in October 1993.

This week’s production in Oxford was funded by the university’s Oxford Revue.

For first-year student Miss Lowenthal, it is her third play in a year.

The cast paid tribute to set designer Calum Suggett for designing and creating the giant cardboard dinosaur skeleton.