My Son Pinocchio Jnr
|Date||22nd March 2014|
|Venue||Saltash.net Community School|
|Type of Production||Musical|
|Director||Jaq Kevern, Alison Hill, Heidi Walsh & Ria Stone|
|Musical Director||Heidi Walsh|
Author: Nick Lawrence - Councillor
The MTI Broadway Junior Collection offers some very good shows for working with youngsters and this was no exception. There were plenty of small but significant roles for the up-and-coming actors and one or two juicy roles for the more experienced. With a score by the great Stephen Schwartz there were plenty of wonderful melodies and it being a Disney licensed show two of the finest much-loved Disney classics to enjoy. The singing was charming throughout with some very promising voices on display. Numbers were well rehearsed with some nice bits of harmony and most impressively it was all performed to backing tracks with barely a glitch. It was good to hear the young voices unforced by inappropriate “belting”.
With the large stage and auditorium there was plenty of opportunity for imaginative settings. The layout of the acting areas was well thought out and despite the audience being on the flat it was never a problem to see what was happening. Additional bits & pieces were kept to a minimum ensuring the performance flowed with barely a hesitation while we moved from one scene to another. This was enhanced by the youngsters being well prepared to go on to the next scene without a fuss. The vastness of the performing area could have produced problems as well solving others, but the technical backup team had everything well organised. There was some clever lighting to direct the audience’s attention to the next scene and highlighting the character most relevant to a particular part of the story. Sound assistance was excellent with the youngsters showing no sign of their mics and the operators fully conversed in who spoke/sang next. No delayed sound here! Also welcome was that sound production was never too loud ensuring everyone could hear clearly what was said and sung. Of course, this was assisted by excellent diction from most of the cast. If the audience cannot hear the words it cannot follow the story.
With a large cast and many different characters, some variation in the quality of the costumes could be understood, but in this case everyone had a lovely outfit and all were appropriate to the character they were representing. There was some imaginative use of colour and the obvious characters were appropriately dressed [soldiers and clockwork dolls etc etc]. It was also pleasing that actors did not fidget with their outfits but wore them as their characters dictated.
It was very impressive how each role had been given time to develop and characterisations were strong. Naturally the major roles stood out. Pinocchio, Stromboli & the Blue Fairy handled their significant roles with apparent ease and charm. Holding everything together and keeping things moving was a very mature portrayal of Geppetto. With clear articulation and pleasant singing going along with some fine acting, the rest of the cast were surely inspired to do their best by this very commanding central performance. It was difficult to tell that this was a “First Night”. There were barely any glitches. There were clear signs of the workshop work done during the rest of the year with interesting characterisations, good diction, tuneful singing and all round confidence. Most impressive was the stillness of the performances – no fidgeting with hair, costumes and mics – no wandering aimlessly and most welcome, no fidgeting on the spot but standing firmly centred and presenting to the audience. All round very impressive.