Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The Adventures of Pinocchio. I've seen other of Chicago Shakespeare's works like Aladdin, The Emperor's New Clothes, As You Like It, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Twelfth Night. My favorite ones that I've seen so far were As You Like It and Twelfth Night because they are made by Shakespeare. Aladdin, Emperor's New Clothes,and Pinocchio were good but they weren't my favorites because they were kids' shows, and I like grown-up shows better than kids' shows, which is weird because I am a kid. Kids' shows I can love them, but I don't double love them. Some grown-up shows have romance, adult jokes, killing people, tough words. If you don't know all the words it makes the play more complicated, and then it makes it a puzzle, and it is more fun to figure out.
Pinocchio is about a puppet that comes to life and becomes a son to an old man. Pinocchio's nose kept getting longer because he keeps lying. The play feels like lying is a bad thing. I think it is sometimes a good thing and sometimes a bad thing. If a villain was asking for your money you could say you were poor and didn't have any. When the Cat and Fox are telling Pinocchio to bury the money he could say I am very rich and don't need any more money. That would be a lie, but then they wouldn't steal money from him. When something bad is happening, then you can lie because you need to save yourself.
I liked the scene where Pinocchio (Skyler Adams) was in the puppet show. The puppet show was done by this terrible person who killed puppets; he was called the Puppet Master, played by Ron Rains. Pinocchio danced better than Mary and Annette to show how cheesy the other puppets were. They just like moved their arms floppy and they didn't look real. They sang like robots, and they looked like robots. The actors (Hannah Sielatycki and Katie Spelman) did a good job pretending to be marionettes. The joke was Mary and Annette made the word Marionette. Mari Onette. I thought that when Pinocchio dances he dances so much like a human that they thought he wasn't a puppet--but actually he was a really good dancing puppet. He did a really good job too.
I think Melody Betts in the program should not be the Storyteller but should be the Storyteller/Blue Fairy/Geppetto's Wife. That would be more specific of who she played. All three of those parts were the same person. You didn't know she was Gepetto's wife until the end, but you did know the Storyteller and the Blue Fairy were the same person. I like how she was Geppetto's wife; I thought it was touching and unexpected, and I thought she looked like a very nice Fairy and Mother and Storyteller.
Lampwick is really mean and ornery. Lampwick was played by Dylan Saunders. He sang this song with Pinocchio and the other boys saying, "Terra DI Ragazzi!" I really liked the song called "Terra DI Ragazzi" because I thought it was a cool and catchy song. I wanted to sing "Terra DI Ragazzi" a thousand times in a row. It is about Terra DI Ragazzi which is a fun park with no girls (no fair!) and no parents and no teachers. One reason that I want girls to go to Terra DI Ragazzi was I want more girls to be in this play. And, two, why I don't want them to go to Terra DI Ragazzi (do you like how I say "Terra DI Ragazzi"?) is because they are going to turn to donkeys.
Liz Pazik played the Driver who sang the song with the boys and Pinocchio. She was trying to get them to come to Terra DI Ragazzi. I thought The Driver...it was kind of weird because she said no girls but she was a girl herself. Maybe she auditioned for the part and did a really good job even though she wasn't a boy. And you can't judge by sex.
The scene in the whale was hilarious because Pinocchio said, " I have donkey ears, I have a tail, and I'm in a fish." I thought it was funny because it was getting worse, it was getting worse, and it was getting a tiny bit better. Being in a fish isn't as bad as being half animal because he might be able to get out of the fish.
I liked Don Forston in The Emperor's New Clothes. He played the Emperor in The Emperor's New Clothes. He was really funny; he reminded me of one of my teachers named Mr. Jay. The problem with Geppetto is that Geppetto is a very stupid character. He sends his child away when he is not even a day old. Maybe in that time they didn't have homeschool and it was the only way to get an education. And everybody wants an education. You have to be more than less than one day to start school. He should have waited and not sent him off on his own when he was only a few seconds old! Geppetto learns his lesson at the end. His lesson is 1) don't send your child out when he is less than a day old, and 2) he shouldn't send Pinocchio to school when he only knows a few words and how to sing. Pinocchio should also know how to say the ABCs and stuff like that. Geppetto should have taken Pinocchio with him to get the ABC book. Then Pinocchio could have picked out the ABC book he wanted. Like there could have been one that was white and Dr. Seuss.
Ericka Mac played the Cat. The Fox was played by Derek Hasenstab. I thought they were funny in their parts. There was this funny part where the Cat said "Don't dig up any wooden nickels." And the Fox said quietly, "Wooden nickels. That's hilarious." The way they said their lines was cool because they said that money actually grew on trees, but it didn't. It actually got stolen. They stole it! In the Disney Pinocchio they made the Fox and the Cat kind of creepy, but in this they made them more lovable.
Kevin Depinet was the set designer. I thought it was a cool set. The wheels at the top of the stage turned on with lights and colors and became ferris wheels. And I thought how they did the whale was cool. They made part of the stage open which was the mouth, and then they made it close, and they made red lights for the eyes. Meredith Miller I thought did a good job doing the puppets. I thought it was cool how they used the puppets to tell parts of the story. I thought it was interesting because they go back and forth: so one time Pinocchio is played by a puppet, one time by a human, one time by a puppet.
The people who will like this show are people who like puppets, fairy tales, Italian people, and fast, catchy music. I think this should be for ages two and up. If a two-year-old wants to come and see this, there is one thing they might be frightened of, so beware. It is the whale with the red eyes opening and the mouth. I think Chicago Shakespeare is not only good for Shakespeare; it is also good for children's shows.
Photos: Michael Brosilow