We had the pleasure of visiting the Nottingham Playhouse to watch Pinocchio in the Neville Studio; to see Sarah Middleton’s adaptation.

Most of us know the traditional story of Pinocchio that has been told for many, many years. Well, this version of the story has several twists along with the traditional elements. 

The first thing we noticed when entering the suite were the three rows of cushions on the floor on the edge of the set, with two benches on either side behind them. This was so that children could get as close as was possible to the stage. We discovered that this was to enable the cast to be interactive with children in the audience. When entering we were greeted by Geppetto. He walked around the stage and the suite talking to the children arriving. 

The play was interactive. Both Geppetto and Pinocchio asked children questions that influenced the direction of the play, the putting together initially of the puppet and the colour of his jacket. 

The set was creative and throughout the play its contents were revealed when, for example: doors were opened, catches unhinged, bunting hung up, and draws were opened. Maps appeared, a science kit and steps, for instance, were then all exposed.

There are some adapted and new characters, songs, jokes and lots of funny references to wood. Without revealing too much, my granddaughter and I both loved the Blue Fairy the best. There are also mentions of some of the latest dance moves: the floss, running man, twerk, salsa with a few moves reminiscing of Elvis and the Macarena. 

Both Ben Welch (Geppetto) and Karr Kennedy (Pinocchio) created an atmosphere which helped children, who were new to the environment, feel comfortable.  They were then able to eventually enjoy themselves. Some children cried or spoke out loudly during their performance, but they did not flinch or show any annoyance they just carried on and when appropriate added the children’s comments. Ben played several characters and had to change his costume several times. His and Karr’s performance were commendable, they sang, danced and moved around the stage with ease. 

My granddaughter and I laughed throughout along with the rest of the audience of adults and children. When the show had finished, Amelie’s comment was that it was good, and she would like to see it again. We both highly recommend it.

Ben Welch, Amelie and karr Kennedy

2020© Sharon RM Stevens