Hertford Theatre – until 1st January
Reviewed by Keiley Archer
There is nothing as enjoyable as a traditional Pantomime to get yourself into the Christmas spirit, and The Astonishing Adventures of Pinocchio does not disappoint. It follows the story of Pinocchio’s quest to transform from a puppet into a real boy, with other well-known characters from our favourite nursery rhymes cleverly woven into the tale, as well as jokes which provide humour for both children and adults.
The main foyer is decorated to create the façade of entering a travelling circus, the colourful stalls and upbeat circus music welcoming the audience and immediately submerging them in the magical world of Cricket’s Carnival. All the costumes and sets are bespoke and created especially for this production by the crew and a team of volunteers, which only makes them more impressive. The venue itself has tiered seating, so there is not a bad view in the house!
The production is led by the magnificent Josh Dorn as Pinocchio, Robert Oliver as Gepetto/Stromboli/Bobby Loggs and Mina Dahle as Jill. A particular stand out performer for us was Sam Kipling, who played Charlie Cricket, whose stage presence added an extra liveliness to the scenes. Multiple members of the cast proved their versatility as actors by taking on more than one role, which worked seamlessly within the show.
The colourful sets create the perfect backdrop for a fun filled, entertaining extravaganza. Audience participation is actively encouraged by children and adults alike, with plenty of opportunity to boo, cheer and sing along, which added to the overall enjoyment of the show. It contained everything a Christmas show should and is a performance that can be enjoyed by audience members of all ages.
This production sets the bar high for the pantomime, and I am eager to return next year for the next show by Hertford Theatre Productions!