My Son Pinocchio Jr

Date 5th July 2019
Society Sawston Youth Drama
Venue The Marven Centre, Sawston, Cambridge.
Type of Production Youth
Director Jackie Green
Musical Director Pippa Bell
Choreographer Katie McArthur and Eloise Long
Producer Mark Long


Author: Decia Ranger

My assistant and I were warmly greeted when we arrived at the venue on what was a lovely summer’s evening.  I always look forward to seeing this society’s shows. Their inclusivity means that young people of all abilities have the opportunity to learn skills that can help them mature into confident adults, both on stage and off, and this has to be a good thing.

There was a bit of a blip with the lighting before curtain up, causing the auditorium to be plunged into darkness during the housekeeping announcements and most importantly during the live safety announcements.  Fortunately things soon got back on track.

A confident performance by Olivia Lancaster as The Blue Fairy.  Her singing voice is still developing, as is to be expected, but nevertheless she coped well with the musical numbers as did her Fairies-in-Training – Rosa (Sienna Pacey-Smith), Viola (Phoebe Williams), Arancia (Phoebe Riordan), Blossom (Holly Wright) and Sue (Grace Carmel).  All had developed their characters but I feel a special mention must go to Grace who really connected with the audience as the fairy who delighted in making mischief every time she exited the stage.

To be given a leading role is obviously exciting for a young actor and I’m sure Oliver Chatwin had worked hard to be a good Geppetto. I would like to have seen him be more animated but felt that his nerves were probably holding him back, which was a shame. He has a quiet voice (I’m probably leaving myself open to correction here from those who know him!) which was at times difficult to hear, especially when he was singing.  However, this was much improved once his mic was turned up.  All told, I think this was a good effort and one on which to build.

A good lively performance by Luke Carmel as Pinocchio. He had certainly perfected the art of growing a nose!  Euan Barr, Freya Humphreys and Ellen Arthurs worked well together as Stromboli and his Marionettes, with the girls working completely in unison, so well done to them.

Archie Meikle made a good Ringleader.  This is certainly a role to show off a young actor’s talent and this young man was absolutely right for the part.

There were other good performances from Will Lucas-Evans as Professore Buonragazzo and Jack Journeaux as his assistant, Junior. With a large supporting cast playing parents, children and talking animals, there was certainly something for everyone to get involved in and there were some great chorus numbers.

Scenery was good and well thought out as was the lighting.  Costumes were excellent and the pre-recorded musical accompaniment worked well, the cast having been well drilled by their MD and, with the exception of a couple of blips, coming in on cue.

Another very enjoyable show from SYDs.  Well done to everyone involved and thank you for inviting me.