Puppet Turns To Real Boy....Phenomenon!


Jasmin Vardimon

Theatre Severn

Saturday 29th October 2016


Jasmin Vardimon , already known for her ground-breaking styles in dance  and theatricality, has given a very special touch to this very old Italian cautionary tale,  Pinocchio.

Where ballet meets physicality, where dance entwines with narrative and where everything behind the proscenium arch is stripped bare so the very workings of the entire theatre could be seen. All of these conventions help to make this a dazzling interpretation of the “pantomime” hijacked story.

Using every muscle, every gesture, every sinew of their supernaturally supple bodies the dancers created the enchanting tale.

Without dialogue the dancers were able to find their characters strongly and their immersion into roles was fantastic. The sly fox and the cunning cat were superbly danced as they led the poor old innocent marionette astray.

Forced to perform in a marionette show Pinocchio earned five gold pieces to give to his poor old father Gippeto. One imagines that the journey back to his father and in becoming a real boy is going to be less that straightforward and one’s assumption is quickly proved to be correct.

Through tumbles, twists, leaps and turns the story moves on. It is amazing what the human body is capable of with a creative force behind it. Evidence of extremely hard rehearsal work was clear to all, in this spectacle of colour, sound and magic.

Artaudian, " theatre of cruelty," techniques were visible and used to  grand effect. His influence was clearly evident in the use of gaudy, scary colours, costumes and of course,  in the moves of Pinocchio’s adversaries.

Stripping bare all the secrets of the theatre is a Brechtian device and this demonstrated how much the entire theatre relied on strings to pull the puppets and props and scenery that go into making a show. It was these visible ropes and strings which linked to a far greater metaphor.

Like Pinocchio we all want the best for ourselves' For him he dreamed of being a real boy but the metaphor then asks us questions about ourselves and leads us into asking,who pulls our strings?

Can one ever break the yoke of expectation or is it easier to let others pull your strings to get you through life? This is the entire question of self. Who are we? How important is to us that our goals and dreams are realised and how easy does this ever happen? These are all questions we should ask ourselves daily. Sometimes it’s easier and far more peaceful to be led and homogenise into the populace. But defeatism is usually the path of least resistance.

Disney did enchanting things with this story and now hardly a Christmas goes by where it isn’t on somewhere. That’s fun, the kids love it and it gives the grown up’s respite from hollering demands. However  Disneyfying text can lose the meaning of the story and comparisons can be lost.

Verdimon, in this stunningly well designed show has rediscovered the Italian author Collodi's  true story. The story of the errant boy who lost his way and finally reached his goal. Her dancers weaved an indelible message for all who were ready to receive it.

Its nice to learn that when you’re at your weakest, lowest and most vulnerable point and your dreams like bubbles are fading; it is still possible with maybe just a little magic and a lot of hard work, to still achieve whatever your aims are. You can still score your goal. Just listen and learn from others who have the wisdom to help and to lead you there.


This is a four star review.

Owen J. Lewis


Sofia Lewis Sofia Lewis
For many years Sofia wrote here under her male name Owen J. Lewis. She is now mostly writing under her own name of Sofia Lewis. Sofia, who worked on independent radio for over ten years, lives in Shrewsbury and writes plays. She has over 15 titles published and her plays are performed all over the world. She is especially popular in America. Her poetry is also often noted and she writes reams of it most weeks. Since graduating in theatre in 1997 Sofia has been an Actor, Filmmaker, and a Secondary School Teacher. Reviewing theatre is something she thoroughly enjoys and she loves to see great theatre. As a musician Sofia is known throughout the UK she is a folk singer, and is often seen or heard around her native county singing and having fun. Sofia has contributed to loveshrewsbury.com for over a decade and enjoys sharing her views on theatre. Sofia has one daughter and grew up in Church Stretton.

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