CARLO COLLODI’s original rather dark tale about a puppet that comes to life has been cleverly adapted by Robin Belfield and Simon Slater into a magical, sparkling family show that has something for everyone.
Puppeteer Geppetto (Tomm Coles) is poor and lonely, but when he carves a puppet and names it Pinocchio his life changes for ever.
Pinocchio, faultlessly played by Jack Blumenau, is very far from being the son that he longs for. He is mischievous and disobedient, and finds that the easiest way of getting out of trouble is by telling lies. He cruelly ignores the influence of the Cricket (Ian Harris), who appears as a small green light in Pinocchio’s hand before magically transforming into his friend and loyal guardian.
Pinocchio runs away and embarks on a series of adventures that draw him in and out of the clutches of the wicked fox, Volpe (Sarah Applewood) and Gatto, the Cat (Morgan Philpott). They trick Pinocchio out of all his money and entice him to the colourful Land of Idle, but as in all good stories where good eventually triumphs over evil, he gradually learns that greed doesn’t pay, laziness doesn’t make him happy and that there is merit in being honest and decent.
There were echoes of Tinkerbell in the delightful highlight where the theatre was filled with bubbles for the children to blow away in order to resurrect the Blue Fairy (Gabrielle Douglas) from the dead. Add an awesome giant fisherman, rabbit policemen with blue lights on their heads, catchy song-and-dance numbers and a strong story that ends happily told by a brilliant cast of actor/musicians, and you’ll know you have a recipe for success.
If you come away from the theatre saying you haven’t enjoyed yourself, be prepared for your nose to grow!
* The Adventures Of Pinocchio runs until January 5. For tickets and times of performances call the box office on 01635 46044 or visit www.watermill.org.uk
The Adventures Of Pinocchio,
Saturday, November 23