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Pinocchio! The Panto – theSpace on the Mile

Described as “Rocky Horror but family-friendly”, it may be unusual to attend a pantomime in August, but it was popular on the morning I went to Pinocchio! The Panto, with a sold-out performance forcing front-of-house staff to turn away multiple families who had popped in on the off chance they could be squeezed in.

Pinocchio! The Panto CastThe international nature of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe was borne in mind by this production, which gave everyone a lovely introduction to stock phrases such as ‘oh no it isn’t’ (and the corresponding reply) and ‘it’s behind you’. The panto dame (neither cast nor character list was supplied to the audience, as far as I could tell) had a suitably larger-than-life personality, though the narrative (not that anybody should go to the panto for the narrative) included so many antagonists coming on and off-stage that I was momentarily wondered if it would be easier just to boo and hiss absolutely everybody.

Unintended chaos in panto almost always works to provide another layer of entertainment. Here, the wig on the dame stayed on but Pinocchio’s wooden nose got so long it fell off. A couple of children were given bit parts, and a bonkers story took practically the entire company underwater (there were sea scenes, you see, scenes in the sea – you get the idea). In line with almost any uplifting show, the finale sees good triumph over evil, and an inclusive message encourages people to be whoever they would like to be, the life and soul of the party, or behind the scenes making it all happen. The cast may not all have the strongest singing voices, but there’s a lot of energy and enthusiasm in a show that held the attention of the room throughout. Oh yes it did.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

Bristol’s Pantomime Society has been producing peculiar parodies for over 30 years and after a successful run at the Fringe last year, we’re back and more bizarre than ever. Back in Bristol, we were awarded the most inclusive society: everyone who auditions for our shows gets a part and we strive to make all rehearsals as safe a space as possible. The cast for Pinocchio are so excited for you to come along to this epic tale, and this will definitely shine through in their performance.

Come and see the all-singing, all-dancing, interactive, family friendly pantomime this August! We hope you have as much fun watching it, as we do performing it!

Listings information
Venue: theSpace on the Mile, Space 1
Dates: 21–26 August 2023

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