Pinocchio a charmer for young and old

Weaving a web: Anil Kumar is watched by the puppet that would like to be real
Weaving a web: Anil Kumar is watched by the puppet that would like to be real
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Pinocchio

Proper Job Theatre Company

Square Chapel

By Derek Greenwood

Having survived for almost 130 years – including an unsatisfactory mauling by a cartoon giant – this story reappears here in a meaningful, gentle and moving interpretation by John Dwyer, where the nose and its size merits only perfunctory interest.

Tickling the imagination of adults and children from the start, we were caught up in the charm and fascination of this story the moment we set foot in the auditorium, as the two main adult actors, Anil Kumar and Ben Cutler, wove their web of characters with some wonderfully absurd characterisation.

Supported by the outstanding and seamless skills of a master puppeteer, Diana Bayliss, and the splendid, almost offstage amplified voice of Liam Wetherall, Pinocchio’s journey to reality meandered, sometimes spectacularly and sometimes subtly, from wooden puppet to real live boy.

The magic and fantasy were beautifully interwoven, strangely riveting as the story floated from issue to issue, all still sneakily appropriate for our children today.

Supported by a young ensemble cast demonstrating impressive technical and spatial awareness, the harp-playing Blue Fairy, played by Rachael Gladwin and the technical and versatile skills of the two main actors, the story flowed with ease and great drama.

A simple but effective set added to this affecting and moving story, providing a thoroughly thrilled audience with a wonderfully uplifting pre-Christmas treat – another excellent and original item in Square Chapel’s programme and not to be missed.

Make sure you catch it before December 30.