Pinocchio (3 stars)

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, until Sat 30 Dec

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The Pitch Total ASBO case Pinocchio (James-Anthony Pearson) is a pathological bullshitter, who’s perfectly willing to see Gepetto (Simon Scott), the coffin dodger who fashioned him from wood, do chokey for his ills. He’ll never turn from wood to flesh if he keeps being tempted into telling porkies by such folk as a huxter fox (Andy Clark) and his dodgy cat assistant (Molly Innes). Enter goody blue shoes the Azure Fairy (Shonagh Price) and her camp David Gower looky-like mutt (Matthew Pidgeon) to show he might turn into a real boy if he behaves. Wooden that be luvverly?

The Verdict Mark Thomson’s adaptation of this childrens’ favourite into a Christmas show places emphasis on a kind of Protestant work ethic as the basis of moral growth. In truth it takes a while to crank up to full speed, but when it does, it really cooks. This is in large part due some good performances all round - the cast positively takes fire by late on. In particular, Pidgeon’s gay poodle and Clark’s contrasting Fife hardman dog are an absolute treat, each a masterpiece of comic timing by themselves.

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