King’s Head Theatre, London – until 7 January 2016
Charles Court Opera return to the King’s Head Theatre for the festive season with their traditional twist on a classic story that is funny with plenty of audience interaction. This is Pinocchio but not as you know it thanks to Charles Court Opera’s latest pantomime that takes the classic story and turns it into something completely unique.
Filled with familiar songs with a twist, some quirky choreography and lots of jokes which are so bad that they are good, Pinocchio sees the little puppet heading off on one big adventure with his friends Foxy and Michelle the snail (Shelley for short) in order to defeat a villain who brings to mind the lead character from the Plenty adverts.
What is incredible is what this production is able to achieve in such a small space, in particular look out for a gigantic puppet fish which is fabulously manoeuvred through the audience and the space as well as the clever creation of jellyfish, that shows the imagination and creativity that has gone into this production.
Pinocchio is a show that might have been designed for a younger audience, but yet it also manages to draw out the inner child in the adult audience members, with its charm and notorious bad jokes which manage to draw a number of groans throughout – particularly when it comes to the wordplay.
The plot itself if perhaps slightly too flimsy and doesn’t make much sense, but for the most part this doesn’t matter because you are having too much fun to care and there are still plenty of great characterisations to be enjoyed.
Stand out performances come from Nichola Jolley as the sad and miserable snail Michelle, whose movements are wonderfully slow, yet is a wonderfully down to earth character lacking in confidence but filled with loyalty. Also look out for Robin Bailey as the charming and overly confident Foxy, who really makes the audience feel involved and John Savournin makes a suitably corny villain that’s played to perfection, filled with exaggerated accents and movements.
Throughout the production there is a wonderful energy and intimacy that enhances the humour and the bond between all of the characters. But there is also a feeling that it is too keen on getting the audience laughing that at times the jokes can feel slightly flat.
But overall, it is a production that is easy-going and has plenty to make a song and dance out of – literally. A delightful and charming evening’s entertainment.
Pinocchio will continue to play at the King’s Head Theatre until the 7th January 2017. For more information and to book tickets visit: http://www.kingsheadtheatre.com/