There’s an art to writing something that will amuse and entrance small children while also making adults laugh out loud.
Sarah Middleton pulls this off, in her professional debut, with a script that is witty, tender and full of fun.
In Hannah Stone’s production, performed in the Neville studio space, the children can engage with the story and the characters – kindly Geppetto (Ben Welch), longing for a child of his own, and Pinocchio, who wants to be a real river-swimming, pebble-throwing boy.
Pinocchio is played with infectious happiness by the convincingly child-like Karr Kennedy. She uses whatever is at hand to make us believe her nose is growing. Welch plays a parade of other characters too, mostly female and including a red-headed and very arch Lady Mayoress and a disillusioned Blue Fairy.
Georgie White’s versatile set transforms from fairground to the Big City. Jiminy Cricket is a darting, kazoo-voiced beam of light. The excluded boy, threatened with being chopped up for firewood, throws away the magic potion, learns to be happy with himself and dances his own dance.