Italian writer Carlo Collodi’s beloved tale of Pinocchio! has been performed countless times over the past 132 years. Now, Faction of Fools Theatre Company has taken this classic story and adapted it in the Commedia dell’Arte style that they know and do so well. With the use of incredible masks, costumes, puppets, simple props, and the traditional looking marionette stage (complete with hand-painted back drops), 5 incredible actors, performing a myriad of parts, take the audience through the adventure of the puppet who always seems to get himself into trouble but deep down has a good heart and longs to be a real boy.
Paul Reisman wrote and directed this fantastic adaptation. His direction reads as a continuous flow of movement throughout the entire play that seamlessly shifts from one scene into the next and never stops until the final moment.
The team of performers was spot on with their energy and showmanship, playing a multitude of parts depending on what the scene called for. Jack Novak played the gullible Pinocchio, Toby Mulford was the soft-hearted but dim-witted Gepetto among other roles, Hannah Sweet, Alani Kravitz, and Matthew Pauli rounded out the ensemble playing The Blue Fairy, the wise Grasshopper, the Puppet Master, and a vast array of other characters.
The costumes, by Lynly Saunders, and masks, by Tara Cariaso and Aaron Cromie, added a touch of color and mystery, which perfectly accented the simplistic set design, by Daniel Flint.
Special nod should also go to the props and puppets, designed by Dan Mori, which created magically fun interactions with the actors.
From beginning to end the show felt like one fluid piece of choreography. The energy is high and the movement is stylized and precise. The set was simple but busy with interwoven moments of excitement, humor, and even remorse.
Faction of Fools’ Pinocchio! is an adaptation of an old favorite that should not be missed. With its fast-paced plot, physical comedy and general silliness, and even modern day references thrown in for a few laughs, the show is perfectly suited for children and adults of all ages. It will make a great holiday gift! And that’s no lie!
Running Time: 50 minutes, with no intermission.
Pinocchio! plays through Saturday, December 19, 2015 at Faction of Fools Theatre Company performing at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop – 545 7th Street, SE, in Washington, DC. For tickets, call (800) 838-3006, buy them at the door, or purchase them online.