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Pinocchio: The Musical

November 27, 2010
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The story of Pinocchio has been one of my more memorable childhood fairytales, especially with Disney’s 1940 version of it. I’m sure many parents have actually made reference to it – don’t lie or your nose will grow long like Pinocchio. The film had some really nice music like “When You Wish Upon A Star“, which has since become the theme song of Disney.

So, how will our SRT musical stage version of Pinocchio be? Book by Jean Tay, Music & Lyrics by David Shrubsole and directed by Darren Yap, this was a family-friendly children’s musical with magic, colours, and puppetry. Yes, puppetry. I’ve not watched a puppet production for really long, with the last probably being Avenue Q. I’ve always been fascinated by puppetry which really tests the storyteller(s) and skill at controlling the puppets. With Pinocchio being a puppet, what more apt than a puppet show? It wasn’t exactly pure puppetry though as there were characters played by humans, but it was nicely mixed.

I enjoyed myself watching the show, and I believe, so did the dozens of kids in the theatre. It’s a refreshing break from the usual serious/adult stuff. Done with an Asian twist with costumes and even a segment with multi-ethnic puppets to add local flavour, the songs were not bad. One memorable song was “Round the Corner” since they reprised it a couple times. The programme didn’t include the song titles, but I think I liked the song sung by Pinocchio when he wished about being a real boy.
Joanna Ampil’s (Blue Fairy) voice was beautiful. Except for Dwayne Tan (from Wild Rice’s Snow White), who was the voice for Pinocchio, and her, the rest of the cast played many parts, as various characters, including puppeteers. They all did pretty well. The cricket, strangely, had a resemblance to Yoda from Star Wars though. Enjoyed the sets and “magical effects” like flight and of course the puppets too.

It’s heartwarming to still go back to these timeless and pure stories of filial piety and teachings of honesty, to be hardworking, and being good in general. It’s hard to find such “innocence” in productions these days, or maybe I should catch more children productions.

The show runs till 12 December, at DBS Arts Centre.

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