Everyone knows the story of Pinocchio, but rarely has it been told with as much charm and vibrancy as in Carolina Ballet’s production, directed under the sure hand of Bruce Wells. Adults and children alike are dazzled at the sheer magic presented on stage from the opening that bursts with color and action to the very sweet end.
The costumes, intricately designed by David Heuvel, add a very special oomph to this classic tale. The Cricket’s (Gabor Kapin) whimsical, electric green costume, The Cat’s (Elice McKinley) furry ears, and the beautiful, storybook gowns of The Blue Fairy (Randi Osetek) and her attendants sparkle on stage. These delightful ensembles mix with magical music by Nicola Piovani and Amilcare Ponchielli, fully transporting viewers to this incredible dream world.
Kapin’s Cricket dazzles viewers with solid dancing skills mixed with his own jaunty strides and personal touches, all set to chirpy music. McKinely’s Cat and Eugene Barnes’ Fox show off sneaky movements and sinister smiles, and Margaret Severin-Hansen makes a perfect, lithe Pinocchio puppet. Wells brings clarity to the story with grandfatherly narration, and the time passes much too quickly. After the breathtaking “underwater” scenes and the always-touching ending, even the youngest viewers clamor for more.
This performance is followed by Weiss’ dreamlike, lilting A Dancerly Response, an aptly named choreographic response to Bach’s “A Musical Offering.” While the dancing here is emotionally complex and smartly varied, the piece feels out of place after an evening of storybook fun. Stark costumes and dark lighting do little to impress younger viewers, making this one strictly for the adults.
Pinocchio with A Dancerly Response will have an all too short run, wrapping up with its final performance on Sunday, November 28 at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.ticketmaster.com or by calling the box office at 919.719.0900.