The Old Rep officially launched its seasonal offering yesterday, with the press afternoon for Pinocchio. Each year the Old Rep tries to offer something a little bit different from the traditional pantomime fair, that will enchant audiences both old and young, and this year is no different. Judging by the audience reactions, and the faces of my son (almost 10) and niece (5), they have another massive hit on their hands.
I love that they have chosen Pinocchio, a classic story that has been sadly neglected in recent years, you don’t even seem to see the Disney version that often now. The story of the kind and lonely toymaker Geppetto, who makes a wooden puppet called Pinocchio as he longs for a real son, and Pinocchio’s adventures as he tries to become a real boy, are actually a real morale tale of the dangers that exist for the kind and innocent in the real world, and the talented cast that the Old Rep has assembled tell the tale with wit and charm.
Special mention has to be given to the wonderful Holly Sayer as Pinocchio. Her physicality as she plays the wooden puppet is brilliant, she really makes those movements look like wood, and the performance is full of joy. It is sparkling. She is also matched with the scene stealing Daisy Ann Fletcher as the Blue Fairy in a range of disguises (cricket, parrot, Tuna). She is genuinely funny, especially when clambouring up onto a work bench and totally struggling to do this. Ralph Birtwell is a lovely Gepetto who gains the audiences sympathy very quickly.
The clever set, catchy songs and chances for audience participation are all plus points in a show that has many, and as with all the best Christmas shows, it works on two levels, so adults and children alike can enjoy the show.
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A lovely, seasonal hit for The Old Rep.
Until 30th December
The Old Rep
Click here for ticket information