PINOCCHIO, 4Star*****, London, To 7 January

Original script by John Savournin.
Arrangements & original lyrics by David Eaton.
Story devised by John Savournin & David Eaton.
4 Stars ****

King’s Head Theatre. 118 Upper Street, Islington N1 1QN to 7 January 2017.
Tues – Sat 7pm.
Adult performances December 9,10,15,16,17,18,20,22,28,30 & Jan 2, 4, 5, 6, 7. Adult performance 31 December 5.30pm.
Children’s matinees – under three free on lap – 3pm December 10, 11, 17 &Family Friendly matinees December 18, 20, 22, 23, 28, 30, 27.
Runs 1 hr 30 mins One interval.

TICKETS: 020 7226 4443.
Review: William Russell 5 December.

Savour Savournin and Chums in Pantomime heaven
The Charles Court Opera’s annual pantomime, now in its tenth year, is one of the highlights of the fringe and this year’s offering loosely based on the story of Pinocchio is no exception. The difference is there is no dame in this tale, which is not commonly, used for pantomime. So the star of the show, and one of its begetters, plays the villain instead. He plays, with many a flourish, lots of mascara, the tightest tights in pantoland and much bravado, a wicked cricket called El Tabasco who inveigles the innocent Jiminy Cricket into a plot to kidnap Pinocchio and put the puppet on the stage.

But you cannot keep Savournin out of a dress and when the traditional kitchen baking scene comes along he swans on in a fgossy orange number.

Joshua Da Costa is a loveable Pinocchio, Robin Bailey is jovial as a friendly Fox who has a golden egg El Tabasco covets, Nichola Jolley is a superb and insane skwaking Spanish chicken hatched from the foresaid egg, Francesca Fenech tippy toes delightfully as a friendly snail called naturally Shelly, and Matthew R. J. Ward is a lissom and lithe Jiminy.

If any of these accreditations are wrong it is because the programme does not say who is playing who which is mildly annoying.

There are special children’s matinees, but the adult shows, which is what I saw, are merely risqué. There is nothing to upset Mrs Whitehouse ofrAunt Edna, and they would both probably appreciate Savournin’s way with a Jalapeno pepper. Highlights include the baking scene – audience victims, there being much intercourse between stage and auditorium, were required to make pasties stuffed with peppers. It ended with the left over dough being thrown at the audience. The audience threw it back.

But beware. Savournin, is he your bag, is not doing every performance. The role of El Tabasco will be taken on selected dates by Matthew Kellett, a tried and tested veteran of five Charles Court Opera pantomimes. Since Kellett is knee high to a grasshopper and Savournin is head and shoulders above everyone else in the cast these performances should also repay attending. Much though one worships at the shrine of Savournin he is not the only reason for going to a Charles Court Opera pantomime.

To see Kellett in his tiny tights – December 7,8,9,10,11,13, 16, 18,27, 29 & January 2,3,4,5,6 & December 30 & January 7 matinees.

Robin Bailey.
Joshua Da Costa.
Francesca Fenech.
Nichola Jolley.
Matthew R. J. Ward
John Savournin & Matthew Kellet
(But not at the same time).

Director: John Savournin.
Musical Director: David Eaton.
Drummer Dave Jennings.
Choreographer: Damian Czarnecki.
Set Designer: William Fricker.
Costume Designer: Mia Wallden.
Lighting Designer: Nicholas Holdridge.

2016-12-06 21:38:18

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