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'Pinocchio' review or 'We've got no strings to hold us down.'

'Pinocchio', adapted by Dennis Kelly 
National Theatre, 13th December 2017
Written for Exeunt 

I’m sitting in the stalls at the Lyttleton, flanked by two kids. I know the girl to my left: this is Qeiva. She’s ten years old and one of my favourite people to take to the theatre. She’s smart and sparky and utterly unafraid to say what she thinks. By the end of this dark and overly complicated take on Pinocchio – part pantomime, part shit scary fable, part nightmarish puppet show and part schmaltzy musical – Qeiva is plaiting my hair and sketching in my notepad. I’m fairly tempted to join her, despite all the imagination and thought that has so obviously been poured into this show (perhaps a little much too thought, a little too many flourishes and not enough plain fun). Meanwhile, there’s the girl on my right. I don’t know this girl but she seems thrilled to be at the theatre. Some of the signs are good: she wriggles to the front of her seat and bounces about with excitement. She get…

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