The Adventures of Pinocchio

Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street, Wellington

19/07/2011 - 30/07/2011

Production Details

Join Pinocchio, the naughty little puppet who tries so hard to be considerate, reliable, kind and unselfish, in his quest to become a real little boy. Meet Geppetto, his patient and loving father and The Blue Fairy, who wishes wishes would be made between 9 and 5.

Meet Mr. Fox and Ms. Cat, who have lots of devious plans for leading poor old Pinocchio astray and of course the real baddy, baddies, The Puppeteer and The Ringmaster who have their own plans for Pinocchio’s future.  

The Adventures of Pinocchio: A show packed full of thrills and spills, fun and laughter, music, song and of course a nose that grows!

Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street
Tuesday 19 to Saturday 30 July
Shows are 11 am and 1pm Weekdays
and 11am only on Saturdays. No show on Sunday.

Sure to win hearts and delight audiences

Review by Jo Hodgson 19th Jul 2011

A full house with an excited audience ranging from 0 – 70 settle down for a show billed as “A show packed full of thrills and spills, fun and laughter, music, song and of course a nose that grows!”

We are welcomed to a “little bit of magic” in the beautiful opening number. A little hesitant, possibly being the first show of the season, but the actors soon warm and begin the story telling journey and I must note, with some lovely vocal harmonies by Jesse Finn-Brown.

The script follows the complex story of Pinocchio fairly closely with a dithery Geppetto (Rodney Bane) carving a magical tree stump into a wooden puppet whom he calls Pinocchio (Jared Pallesen).

Pinocchio asks the Blue Fairy (Emma Yarrow) to let him be a real boy and sets out to try to be considerate, reliable, and kind while learning the lesson that lying will make his nose grow (not sure who ingeniously designed the nose growing apparatus) but gets waylaid by the devious baddies of the story, the (French) Cat (also Emma Yarrow) and Fox (Andrew Goddard), Puppetmaster and Ringmaster (Jesse Finn-Brown), until in a selfless act he recues his father from the whale and becomes the real boy and the son he and Geppetto have always dreamed of.

The cast, from veteran actors to one in her debut performance, is great and engages well with the audience, who enthusiastically stand up, jump around, help to make the whale sneeze and call out “he’s behind you!” at appropriate moments.

Jared Pallersen is an elastic and energetic Pinocchio with a clear strong singing voice. Emma Yarrow makes a comedic Blue Fairy and Cat and with a little more confidence and projection these roles will really shine. Andrew Goddard is a very expressive performer convincingly playing the charismatic Fox and somewhat dim Lampwick. Jesse Finn-Brown plays the Puppetmaster and Ringmaster with baddie gusto and sings extremely well and Rodney Bane portrays Geppetto with great heart.

The original music by Carey McDonald written to Mary Coffey’s lyrics add some lovely touching moments throughout the story from dreamy ballads to a vaudeville dance number to the sounds of the circus, however there needs to be more link from the actors moving between telling the story into song and out again. Occasionally they felt a little static. This could also be the difficulty of performing to a recorded track rather than with a live pianist.

The set is simple and effective as is the lighting with nice usage of a mirror ball to make the shimmer of the sea.

All in all, a fun hour or so of entertainment for those who attended, as shown by some young girls running up to the Blue Fairy to hug her afterwards. By now first show nerves will have settled and with a little faster pacing, Pinocchio is sure to win hearts and delight audiences both young and old.
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