Pinnochio, A review. Pinocchio, as I remember it from childhood, is a tale about a young boy puppet whose wooden nose grows longer every time he tells an untruth. This production directed by Hannah Stone stayed true to the tale, but as an adult audience member, there were also some dark undertones that were very gently touched upon, fleetingly so as to remain fun for the young. The magical land in which Pinocchio lives, has banned all talking puppets, and if found, they must be chopped up and burnt as firewood. Scary thought, to live in fear of your true self being found out and sentenced to death.
Geppetto, an old man played lovingly by Ben Welch, longs for a child of his own. A talented carpenter, he carves a puppet boy and is overjoyed when he now has the child he’d always longed for. But how can he keep Pinocchio safe, and what will happen if his son finds out his own identity, or worse, when the townsfolk do? What happens from here on in, I suggest you go and see for yourself…
My group of attendees ranged from a cheering 7 months of age, a loud as life loving 3 year old boy, to myself in mid thirties, and my own mother, a young hearted 72. We all, Loved it. Upon entering the cosy theatre, we were informally directed to bring the children to the front, if they wished, where they sat and lay on comfortable bean bags and cushions on the floor, with loved ones sat in drink and snack holding distance behind. The relaxed and cheerful vibe was continued as before the show started for real, Lovely old man Geppetto entered the stage, with his apron and Notts brogue, and said, “ooh helloo” to the children gathered at his feet, immediately warming and involving them in the events to unfold and encouraging a bright and cheery response.
Karr Kennedy, an energetic and youthful character, bursts onto stage in a fun loving and cheerful song and dance, and engages the children and audience on her side beautifully as Pinocchio. I will let you see for yourself how our favourite Jiminy Cricket is brought to life by Kennedy, using a wee bit of imagination, in a cute and creatively simple way. Kennedy is a wonderful actress in her own right, and charmed children and adults alike with her pro dance moves and fun array of singing styles. All, treats. I must say, that Welch truly shines as an actor, playing a host of different characters in a range of hilarious and entertaining ways. All our favourites are brought to life, and I would not want to spoil the surprises in store, so just watch him here in Notts while you can as I am sure that he will be going far.
The songs written by Darren Clark range from touching to banging, and as an adult woman, I usually get slightly sickened by the usual sacharrine and predictable pantos. But this beautiful show, warmed my cold heart on a rainy winters day. A show about kindness, acceptance, of families in whatever mould or carving they come, of celebrating true selves, and of an end of hatred against vulnerable puppets, and all acted by two charismatic and one sensed, genuinely lovely people. I left the theatre full of cheer and bounce, the little ones in our group delighted with the magical show, and the older ones ready to give a standing ovation and an all round, “well that was bloody good wasn’t it”. Well done to the cast and crew of this imaginative and gorgeous production, I did wonder how the whale was going to be brought into this version, and me and my partner roared when we clocked how. Watch out for that treat, it’ll keep you guessing till the end. Loved it, 10 out of 10, a seamless, heartwarming and gorgeous production all round!
Written by Anna Robinson
Pinnochio runs from Wednesday 11 December 2019 – Saturday 4 January 2020
Neville Studio at (The Playhouse) – Tickets: £13