Date 11th December 2021
Society St Herberts Amateur Dramatic Society
Venue St Herbert’s Parish Centre
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Carole Griffiths
Choreographer Samantha Martin
Producer Tony Cenci , Carole Griffiths
Written By Tom Whalley


Author: Claire Ashworth

It was a cold, grey, wet, dismal day when I rocked up to see S.H.A.D.E.S. performance of Pinocchio, but the atmosphere inside was the complete opposite. The audience were very eagerly and noisily awaiting the cast taking to the stage and, after a slightly delayed start (due to traffic problems for some audience members), we were off. 

The show opened with some great energy and we (the audience) were very soon in the safe capable hands of Mamma Mia (Carole Griffiths) and her show son Lampwick (Tony Cenci). The pandemic enforced break from performing was definitely not apparent with these two as they bounced dialogue and jokes off each other with the same regularity as a tennis volley. The audience, primarily made up of children, lapped it up and joined in with great glee and enthusiasm. Stromboli (Martin Taylor) had a difficult job to make himself heard as the baddie, but they had obviously got the message he was as they started to loudly boo him almost as soon as he appeared. He kept the story moving with good pace although at one point I thought he was going to “corpse” due to a child heckling him - he managed to hold it in. Job well done, Martin under great pressure. Signore Volpe (Jane Pearson) was excellent, her enunciation while still keeping in her characters strong accent was both a pleasure and a delight to hear, this coupled with her facial expressions and gestures made her character very strongly believable and was a joy to watch. Her sidekick, Signor Gatto (Maureen Copp), was a good foil to bounce off and had some very funny one liners. The Blue Fairy (Jenny Taylor) beautifully made sure that Pinocchio had his happy ending while also teaching the lesson, again, her dialogue delivery and pace was good and I could clearly hear every word. Pinocchio (Amy Copes) and Jiminy Cricket( Kelly Parker) were a strong and generous team on the stage and both coped well with singing and choreography together.

The choreography for the whole show for me was a little stilted and safe - I would have liked to see more diversity and some different stylistics thrown in. The chorus, at times, were that busy concentrating on their footwork or armography they were forgetting to smile.

Gepetto (Tony Mooney) was an absolute delight. He kept up his accent and gentle demeanour throughout without once sacrificing any diction - a job well done. The set was quite simple with very few large pieces of scenery needing moving about. The scene printed wall hangings as back cloths and flats cloths worked perfectly and were very quickly and quietly changed during scene changes. The costumes were bright and interesting - I particularly loved the Blue Fairy dress right down to her super sparkly shoes! It was such a long show that, in my opinion, there were slightly too many musical numbers - however the children surrounding me were having an absolute ball.

Well Done S.H.A.D.E.S.  a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining show. Thank you for your wonderful hospitality, I look forward to seeing you all again very soon.