Pinocchio Gets Wood takes to the internet with a socially-distanced production streamed straight into your home. It’s a fun and riotous ride that sets the standard for how to still deliver a strong production in a time of COVID-19.
A sex-toy shop owner (the dragged-up Daniel Page) worries for her beautiful and virginal daughter Juliet (the excellently cast Rachel Warrick-Clarke), who doesn’t seem as open to sexual experiences as literally every other character appears to be in this phallic-obsessed fairytale world. She creates a special wooden dildo for her daughter that cums (sorry) to life overnight and becomes a real boy: enter Pinocchio and, spoiler alert, it’s not Pinocchio’s nose that grows in this interesting fairytale mash up. Simultaneously, a woodsman-type character wanders the woods with a hooded hag on a different mission; to woo beautiful Juliet. His name seems to be Strong Boner and he has a Donald Trump monologue about his, um, endowment, which is worth a watch on its own.
This production is sexual. So sexual. The type of thing you hope to God your neighbours can’t hear through the walls. But equally, the musical talent on display is that outstanding you want to turn up the volume so as not to miss a note.
It’s a very different experience doing pantomime without the in-theatre atmosphere and the crowd cheering along, but charm and enthusiasm beams through our monitors and I find myself not just laughing along at home, but also shouting back to the pantomime cues, not even feeling a little bit silly about it.
This performance is a trailblazer for how to do live theatre during an unprecedented time, with talented singers and an infectious energy that transcends the digital screen. It’s engaging and entertaining – a quality performance. But for an audience now used to months and months of pause-able TV on demand at home, with distractions aplenty, it feels somewhat more challenging to stay fully engaged throughout the live digital performance.
It’s a truly funny production, with bright, vibrant and engaging actors and characters. The vocal talents of Tamsin Lynes and Rachel Warrick-Clarke are top-notch, and they both present a wholesome, youthful and naive aura amidst the mature sexual content around them. It’s somehow quite a sweet coming of age story – just one with dildos at every turn.
There are an absolutely astounding number of penis jokes – some tired, some predictable, but most quite clever and fun. Topical COVID-19 references are peppered throughout and there really are a lot of laugh out loud moments, making this an all-round enjoyable evening. This panto isn’t for the kids – but it’s perfect for an evening off. Light-hearted, fun and funny, it’s a great escape to a fantastical land of, er, dildos.
Written by: James Chalmers. Songs by Nick Wyschna and Charlotte Bateup
Directed by: Nick Wyschna
Set and Costume by: Charlotte Bateup
Lighting by: Chris Elcocks from MC Productions
Choreography by: Charlotte Bateup
Produced by: Nick Wyschna
Playing Until: This show has completed its current run