On entering the auditorium to see My Son Pinocchio Jnr we heard children chatting in the camp they’d made out of a sheet. There was a ‘Woooohhooooo!’ As the Blue Fairy appeared singing When You Wish Upon A Star and I was transported right back to every one of my childhood Disney dreams, writes Michael Holland.
In a mix of old songs and new, toymaker Geppetto and his puppet take on modern day issues as they learn about parenting, family and discovering that there is no such thing as the perfect child or the perfect parent.
This new Disney production by The British Theatre Academy opened my eyes to the joy of young actors enjoying their work, and showed that there is a lot of talent coming through. I was very impressed with the confidence each cast member had, which made this a show where I soon forget these were young people and not seasoned professionals. I was somewhat dazzled by Felix Hepburn’s Stromboli, the spivvy Svengali out to earn a few quid off the puppet who needs no strings; and Ryan Trevatt who oozed cheeky charm in a role he obviously relished. The story gets a little convoluted in the middle but the energy coming off the stage eased any discombobulation created.
The music and lyrics to the new songs are written by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked), and the whole performance was a pleasure for a happy audience of all ages.
Southwark Playhouse, 77-85 Newington Causeway, SE1 6BD until 14 August. Times: Monday – Saturday 7pm; matinees 3pm. Admission: £22, £14. Phone: 020 7407 0234