So – the latest offering from Opera North. I went to see the performance on Saturday 25th September and I thought it was probably the best piece of theatre I have ever seen. Obviously being a 3 hour piece I can’t go through all the details one by one so I have picked out my top two favourite bits. Enjoy!

Seaside scene – In which Pinocchio meets a giant fisherman

Pinocchio gets persuaded by his friend Lampwick to skive off school and come to the beach. While they are at the beach a giant comes. Lampwick runs off, leaving Pinocchio tangled in the giant’s net. This was my favourite scene because when the giant first appeared it made me jump and it was quite scary. The way the giant was controlled was just extraordinary. One man was hidden behind the huge giant controlling his legs, and there were two other men controlling the two arms. One of these men was singing as if he was the giant – I thought this was very clever.

House scene – In which Pinocchio is outside the Blue Fairy’s house

This is probably my second favourite scene because it is very clever and funny. Pinocchio is outside the Blue Fairy’s house and wants to come in. When he knocks on the door, a head peeps out of the top window and he sings a conversation with this head. What Pinocchio doesn’t know is that the head belongs to a snail and it’s very funny because she takes ages to let him in whilst Pinocchio gets more and more angry. Eventually he kicks the door as the snail comes through it and he gets his foot stuck! The snail says she’ll help him – but her tools are in the attic!

There was some spectacular dancing in the whole show especially in the Funland scene. This scene reminded me of an old-fashioned circus. It was busy and bustling.

The singing was amazing. I especially liked the Fox as his voice had a very big range and he sang really high for a man. I felt sad when Lampwick died – his singing was clear and mournful.

This opera was so much fun, there was always something going on wherever you looked on stage. The music was joyful and the costumes colourful.

I thoroughly enjoyed this opera and I think it is a quality night out for the family.

By George Pitches  (aged 10)

This is the fourth show that I’ve reviewed and is easily the best I’ve seen so far. We had read the reviews and hadn’t thought that it would be as good as it was cracked up to be, let alone better. All the way through the actors and actresses were giving the show their all. It certainly paid off.

It was an interesting retelling of the tale (for someone like me who has only seen the film). Pinocchio was played surprisingly (but winningly) by a woman: Victoria Simmonds. There were so many amazing scenes, which made full use of the stage’s potential (especially the giant fisherman puppet scene) it would be very hard to pick a favourite. That, however, is my job and I would have to say my top scene was the traditional ‘extending nose’ because it captured the true story of Pinocchio and was just hilarious to watch!  The nose grew and grew and grew in response to Pinocchio’s lies but how this happened nobody was able to tell.  This, for me, is one of the essentials of a Pinocchio retelling and did not disappoint.

And of course, I haven’t even begun to discuss the singing. Consistent, powerful and moving are the words I would use to describe the operatic style of the performance. But the singer that really stood out for me was the mischievous schoolboy (aka, Lampwick) who was turned into a donkey. He had a fantastic voice and made some really long, powerful notes. I along with rest of the audience felt genuinely sorry for him when he eventually died.

In conclusion, Pinocchio is a superb production that breaks the generic ‘family show’ mould. This is essential watching for anyone who has read the book, seen the film and likes the idea, or all three! Perhaps the only part that could be changed was the scene directly after the whale spat out Pinocchio and Gepetto. I felt this went on for too long and could have been shortened. But this is a small criticism and is really just me being picky as the whole show overall was fantastic! Now stop reading this review and get out there and see this performance – it’s on tour from next week to Edinburgh, Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham.

By Harri Pitches (aged 13)

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