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The Adventures of Pinocchio - Opera North (Tour – Salford)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Opera North have produced Jonathan Dove and Alasdair Middleton's adaptation of the Carlo Collodi tale Pinocchio as part of their current season. It is no cute Disney adaptation, but stays much closer to the dark story of the boy made from wood.

Unfortunately, this show really does not work in this format. Running at nearly three hours long, it is far too slow and tedious in its narrative to hold our attention.

The plot is long-winded and lacks any pace or action which might make it flow more smoothly. I can understand that the adaptors wanted to tell the whole story; but often things that work on the page need considerable cutting to flow when it comes to performance. Some judicious pruning needs to take place on this opera before it can truly start to
fulfil it's potential.

On the positive side, the production is stunningly staged. Francis O'Connor has created beautiful costumes which are evocative of the animals they are portraying, and his set moves beautifully between scenes. The scene change from the sea to inside the whale is particularly creative.

Victoria Simmonds sings the title role with real feeling and is ably supported by the rest of the cast, both principles and ensemble.

I had hoped that this show would prove to be a good introduction to opera for the younger members of the audience, including my daughter. However, before it can be truly successful at that, it needs to make some changes.

- Helen Jones

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