We all know some of the Pinocchio story. We know that the title character has been made out of wood by Geppetto, a poor Italian carpenter, who wishes for a child that he can love, someone to look after him. Pinocchio has a famous nose that grows whenever he tells a lie. In truth, that’s all I did know about the story before today. Surprising, probably!
The Brewery Theatre is full for Hiccup Theatre’s interpretation of this tale. Four actors, dressed in playful clothes, chat to their audience before the show starts. Their backdrop is an impressive range of musical instruments, which we study and try to remember the names of – banjo, harp, mandolin, violin, piccolo, ukulele, guitar, double bass. The stage has a certain vibrancy, which bursts into something larger than life when the cast jump into their opening song about the power of imagination. And that music permeates every strand of Hiccup’s Pinocchio – brilliantly executed with every step!
This is a journey of exploration into how we can make just about anything come true. Recommended for ages 3 +, I was slightly concerned that it might be too young for my almost 8 year-old daughter. But not a bit of it! And I enjoyed the energy, colour, music and storytelling as much as she did; we were swept away by the enthusiasm of the actors, lost in a sea of fun.
Hiccup Theatre deliver this piece with riotous elegance, incorporating so much in just under an hour – humour, laughter, opera, crafty animals, fairies, near-tragedy (is Ivan Stott’s very believable Geppeto really crying?) and, of course, puppetry. Pinocchio is played by both a real man, an aptly floppy and child-like Edward Day, and a wooden puppet, which is manoeuvred skillfully by the rest of the cast. That extremely well known writer, Michael Rosen, really has packed a lot in and there is never a dull moment on stage, all magically lit at the hand of Lighting Designer, Emma Jones.
As we travel with Pinocchio on his walk of discovery from puppet to boy, we share with him the love, the wondrous joy, the curiosity, the heartache, the confusion and the fun! So much fun!
If you need a lift this Easter break, Pinocchio is it.
Pinocchio runs at Brewery Theatre until 13th April
– Review by Becky Condron