The Adventures of Pinocchio – Ambassadors Theatre

  • Picture: Roy Tan

The Adventures of Pinocchio continues at the Ambassadors Theatre, London until 30 August.

Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩

The Adventures of Pinocchio allows an incredibly talented cast of under 23 year olds from the British Theatre Academy to showcase their wonderful work. The show is written by Neil Bartram (music and lyrics) and Brian Hill (book) and is based on the old Italian tale written by Carlo Collodi in 1883.

The piece takes us on an exciting journey as Pinocchio struggles to learn right from wrong and endeavours to become a real boy. Lasting an hour and 15 minutes, the action is non-stop!

The set, thoughtfully designed by Nik Corrall, whizzes around the stage. Shadow puppets, dressing rooms, even whales (!) appear from nowhere, creating a visual delight that makes audience members feel as if they are seeing this exciting new world through Pinocchio’s young eyes.

While the story makes us laugh, it also makes us consider that the right choices are sometimes the hardest to make. But most, importantly, it offers the message: be true to yourself.

Directed by Bronagh Lagan, the cast puts on a show that has both the adults and children in the audience giggling and watching with wide-eyes as Pinocchio’s antics unfold.

Aside from Geppetto and the Fairy who are always played respectively (and beautifully) by Martin Neely and Lizzie Rees, the other principal roles are alternated between the talented youngsters.

I had the pleasure of watching Nathaniel Purnell play the titular role of the mischievous puppet boy with wonderful physicality.

On his travels he encounters many friends (and foes) who all give incredible performances.

Favourites include Tabitha Knowles, who plays an excellent Puppet Master; Matilda Hopkins as the sneaky but sweet Cat; and James Sampson as a roguish Lampwick.

Anthony Whiteman’s energetic and playful choreography is performed brilliantly by the whole cast.

The chorus showcases its excellent dancing and characterisation skills throughout and the performances rightfully gain a huge cheer of appreciation from the audience.

The show is a great family production, and also demonstrates the hard work and passion put in by all at the British Theatre Academy.

I look forward to seeing more of their work and am sure we are witnessing a few stars in the making.

Lani Calvert

Tickets for The Adventures of Pinocchio are available HERE.

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