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Friday, 3 December 2021

pinocchio malthouse theatre 1The performance of the children’s classic Pinocchio, at Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre, was everything that a children’s production should be. Non-patronising, uplifting and well executed.

The Windmill Theatre and State Theatre Company of South Australia have taken key aspects of Carlo Collodi’s original story and produced a fast paced production which takes on the preoccupations of the current generation – celebrity, fame, and fortune. Easily won and easily lost. Pinocchio and his friends are attracted by the perceived glitz and glamour of celebrity status and this is the lesson that they must learn.

Punctuated by high level rocking numbers, and energetic dancing this performance has great pace. Sam Routledge’s performance as the rocking school teacher could have David Walliams quaking in his high heels! The ability to see the talented musicians was an inspired element of the magic which younger audience members adored. Spotting Geppetto playing the violin was a ‘wow’ moment for several members too!

Geoff Revell totally owned the role of Stromboli cleverly playing the manipulative character without resorting to pantomime antics. If I tell you he would make a formidable child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, you’ll get the picture right?!

Loved the set design which features three touching circles, one of which rotated during various scenes adding movement to the performances. The wooden structure in the centre played a whole host of roles due to clever manipulation of trap doors and windows. It also provided the perfect screen for Chris More’s videos, an integral part of the performance.

pinocchio malthouse theatre 2In the manner of true theatre Pinocchio leaves the audience with elements to discuss and mull over. The meaning of Blue Girl crashing in to the tree that then became Pinocchio, demonstrates how Pinocchio does not patronise its audience but brings them in, inviting them to ponder the themes and events they have been entertained by.

Pinocchio combines many elements to produce a thought provoking and highly enjoyable performance.

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With thanks to Emma Perry - a freelance writer, reviewer and founder of the popular My Book Corner, a children’s book review and price comparison website. A Melbourne dwelling book lover, who can be found buried under a mountain of books.

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