Perth Theatre eschews thigh slapping, portly gents in hoop skirts and cries of ‘it’s behind you’ for a family musical; to call Pinocchio a panto would result in a vastly elongated nose. The tricky thing with a non-traditional Christmas show is to engender the same level of giddy festive cheer as a trad panto without relying on the same tricks.
Using Paul Boyd’s recent adaptation of the fairy tale and directed by Ian Grieve, Pinocchio is great where it works but frustrating where it misses: the lacklustre Pinocchio costume detracts from some lovely sets; stand-out songs such as ‘Red Lobster Inn’ make the rest of the numbers feel slight; a strong central performance from Donna Griffin as the wooden boy is supplemented with a plethora of smaller, ill-defined roles. Iconic episodes of the fable are given short shrift and a clear narrative is substituted for a whirlwind of scenes and characters, leading to confusion among the children in the audience and little to keep the adults engaged.
Pinocchio has all the right components but doesn’t manage to cut its strings and come alive.