Monday, August 10, 2009

"Pinocchio" - August 2009

From the opening moments in Stephen Greenhorn’s version of Pinocchio for the Scottish Youth Theatre at the Tron there is no mistaking that it harks back to Cullodi’s dark original rather than the familiar Disney version. And as the show progresses the light relief provided by the Fox and Cat (an effective Andrew McCormack and Viki Leech) is the only brake on the bleakness as we hurtle towards what can only be described as a pretty horrific conclusion.

It isn’t a horror without meaning – indeed the message is every bit as horrific as the final act – and it does leave the audience with something to think about. But from a narrative point of view it’s largely too little, too late as what has preceded it is frequently sketched without any background or detail. For example, it’s clear from the Blue Lady that Pinocchio is of some huge significance but I never got any explanation as to why. And while I’m unsure where to apportion responsibility for the twin (and at times triple) Pinocchios on stage between writer Greenhorn and director Kenny Miller, it was a decision that, although not confusing, adds nothing to the piece and just left me asking “Why?”.

But if the adult professionals have perhaps not quite hit their marks, the same can’t be said of the performers. There are no weak links here and all those on stage give strong performances - both as individuals and in the ensemble set pieces. Our main twin Pinocchio’s (James Ringer Beck & Scott C Miller) carry the show well with great support from Michael J Warne as Gepetto, Chanelle Buchan as the Blue Lady and Lewis Harding as Green. There's also good use of movement that brings a real style to the production.

SYT have again put together a polished piece of theatre and I respect that they are tackling difficult shows with something to say - even if at times it's uncomfortable to hear. But I do wish every so often they'd do something a bit more cheery and let the audience share some of the fun they are obviously having.

Pinocchio has now completed its run at the Tron.
Image used with permission

3 Heckles

Waldorf said...

The perils of taking kids to the theatre was illustrated well here. Despite the warnings on The Tron's website that the show was 14+ there were some very young children at the show we attended (under 5). Front of house did emphasise at the start that there were some adult themes, but the family chose to stay.

Now the children were very well behaved and there was only occasional chatter from them, but I do wonder how well they slept that night.

Morag said...

I was in the chorus for the production.
We kept seeing little kids in the audience, we all thought we were going to hell for hanging Pinocchio in front of them. It was great fun being in a proffesional production.
There were two Pinocchios as one was the memory and the other was the lesson learned. A confusing concept at times.

Anonymous said...

I also worked on the production and thought that the show was an extremely good telling of the story. This was the first time i had seen ANY version of pinocchio. Later this year i watched the pantomime version in perth theatre and was slightly dissapointed at how friendly it was compared to the dark tale told here at the tron!
Well done to all the cast and crew!