STATE THEATRE COMPANY OF SA: This co-production with Windmill Theatre brings Carlo Collodi’s classic children’s tale to vivid life.
It’s not just children who need a bit of colourful fantasy in their worlds, but there’s something about watching the face of a child, caught up in a magical adventure, that warms the soul.
Not that there was much chance for you to look for too long at anything other than the stage during this dynamic production. Video projection-mapping (throwing still or moving images onto irregular shaped objects as screens) is all the rage these days. The combined efforts of Jonathon Oxlade, Chris More and Geoff Cobham created a stunning example of synchronised light and movement. At times I felt like I was watching a graphic novel come to life – with the added delight of Jethro Woodward’s musical score.
The story of Pinocchio, first published in 1883, is well known: Geppetto (Alirio Zavarce) is an elderly carpenter desperate for a child to love. In true DIY fashion he builds one himself from a rather special tree. But the trials of contemporary single parenting, with children demanding the latest in designer footwear, become too much.
Seeking what he believes will be a better life, Pinocchio (cheekily played by Nathan O’Keefe) finds new friends (Jude Henshall, Derek Lynch) in far-flung places. The evil Stromboli (Geoff Revell) first wins Pinocchio’s interests with temptations of fame and fortune, but eventually love wins out. The delightful Danielle Catanzariti as the Blue Girl helps Pinocchio learn that not even money can buy either her heart or the love for his father.
Considering the prosthetic potential of such a story, I was surprised more wasn’t made of Pinocchio's propensity to lie. The natty nose-elongator was a device we all waited for, and really I think more could have been made from each use. Perhaps in this version it was love, not discomfort and embarrassment, which taught the biggest lessons.
Windmill Artistic Director Rosemary Myers spoke passionately about the collaborative efforts behind this production. It’s great to see a team come together so fluidly that they can become as much the creators as the presenters. The sense of ownership and fun inherent in the production was infectious; this is pure colourful escapism for a winter’s evening.
There’s so much humour in this version’s script, some belting musical numbers, fabulous costumes, a brilliantly illuminated Cricket (brought to life by puppeteer Sam Routledge) and great sceneography. You can’t help but leave with a grin on your face.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
State Theatre Company of South Australia & Windmill Theatre present
Created by Rosemary Myers with writer Julianne O’Brien
Director: Rosemary Myers
Designer: Jonathon Oxlade
Composer: Jethro Woodward
Video Designer: Chris More
Lighting Designer: Geoff Cobham
Choreographer: Carol Wellman Kelly
Cast includes: Danielle Catanzariti, Jude Henshall, Derek Lynch, Nathan O’Keefe, Geoff Revell, Sam Routledge and Alirio Zavarce
Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre
July 8 – 28
Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne
September 6 – 29