Pinocchio review at the Albany, London – ‘cutely old-fashioned’
Nearly There Yet’s sweet and playful show for primary school-aged children subtly turns the familiar tale of Pinocchio into a modern-day fable about parenting, growing up and gaining trust.
Geppetto (Umar Butt) is the over-concerned patriarch and workshop owner who desperately wanted to have a child long before his perfect puppet came to life. The trouble is that Pinocchio (a tumbling, bouncing Floria Da Silva) is too easily led.
Best pals, and wannabe megastars, Cat (Ed Stephen) and Fox (Rosie Rowlands) manage to trick the poor wooden-limbed boy out of his gold coins – not once, but twice. Mortified, he runs away and joins a circus group, only to discover Geppetto has also been conned and was swallowed by a whale.
While it retains many of the original plot points, this Pinocchio downplays the famous nose-growing element. But, thanks to Alison Alexander’s cleverly rotating set design, it largely works and keeps its young audience entertained.
Of the hard-working cast, Rowlands is especially fun to watch as the wily fox, RP-intoning cricket and cockney ringmaster. Da Silva is also a barrel-load of acrobatic charm, disguising complicated movement work as the wibbly-wobbly steps of a puppet trying its best to keep upright.
At the heart of the piece, however, is a message that’s as much for the adults as the children. Despite his repeated cries of “Be careful!”, Geppetto has to eventually learn that, puppet or real boy, his son needs to be left alone to make his own mistakes.
We need your help…
When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.
The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.
We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.
Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.