This naughty pantomime is a bold take on the story of Pinocchio.

With this year being topsy turvy and in need of a few laughs, there is plenty to be found in the Guildford Fringe Theatre Company’s summer pantomime, which contains all the elements for a fun hour’s entertainment.

Written by James Chalmers, this is certainly a bold and lively pantomime that shows just how creative and ambitious theatre has become during these difficult times. It is filled with plenty of naughty jokes that are delivered impeccably by the cast, who all possess a flair for comic timing.

While telling the original story of Pinocchio, in true adult pantomime style there are plenty of differences – not least the fact that Pinocchio is carved from old dildos, which of course means that it is not his nose that gets bigger when he tells a lie! This combined with playful interpretations of songs including “Bring Her Off” sung to the tune of “Bring Him Home” created by Nick Wyschna and Charlotte Bateup mean this is a lively and ambitious production.

Through his production, director Nick Wyschna shows great flair and creativity, using the fact that the audience are watching at home to great effect, by allowing them to put in suggestions before the show through a questionnaire leading to some hilarious name choices for Pinocchio. The staging itself wonderfully shows what can be achieved with a limited cast (all playing multiple roles), particularly with regards to social distancing.

Meanwhile Charlotte Bateup’s set and costume designs really capture the exaggeratedness nature of the show well, adding to the fun vibe of the show perfectly. In particular, Dame Ciabatta (Daniel Page) has some dazzling outfits that captures the character’s flamboyant character perfectly.

It is certainly not a show that you can predict exactly where its going to go next or what joke is coming – which is certainly credit to James Chalmers writing that is consistently sharp, making for a really enjoyable experience – particularly when it comes to all the little asides that are really delightful.

All of the cast are on the top of their game, with their characterisations really bringing the show to life and allowing the audience to feel as though they are experiencing it in the theatre (the back room of the Star Inn in Guildford). In particular, Daniel Page is a real delight as Dame Ciabatta, really anchoring the show and managing to keep the audience thoroughly engaged and entertained from start to finish.

Overall, this is a wonderfully warm and enjoyable production with heaps of ambition that makes it immensely entertaining.

By Emma Clarendon

Pinocchio’s Got Wood is available to watch live online until the 12th September. To book tickets visit: https://www.guildfordfringe.com/events-archive/pinocchio-gets-wood-the-online-adult-panto/

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐