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  Pinocchio Reviews

The House Theatre of Chicago at Chopin Theatre
Thru - May 19, 2019

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The House Theatre of Chicago at Chopin Theatre

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Recommended

"...Overall, the show, an original in every way, is well worth seeing: the creation of the puppet himself is quite beautifully wrought, and it will put you in mind of the way our children come into this world, and then need to leave us behind and make things better for themselves."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times- Somewhat Recommended

"...Certainly these heady themes went over the heads of the fidgety under-10-year-olds in the audience at the Sunday matinee I attended. As directed by Chris Mathews, the House's "Pinocchio" can't reconcile its many competing tones or quite figure out who its desired audience is. Much like the company's other new work this season, last fall's underbaked "Borealis," "Pinocchio" feels like it's got the beginnings of some good ideas, but wasn't quite ready for prime time."
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Kris Vire

Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended

"...The House's adaptation is loose: There's no happily- ever-after ending with Pinocchio turning into a "real boy." Myers's Blue Fairy doesn't sparkle—she's a ragged, haunting specter whose arias fill the air with sorrow (composer Matthew Muñiz's original music is glorious). It's a Pinocchio for our time, politicized with a sense of urgency that perhaps Collodi never imagined."
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Catey Sullivan

Windy City Times- Recommended

"...Seven years ago, the Neo-Futurists presented an elaborate, much more faithful adaptation of Pinocchio, which impressed me with the gruesome and violent nature of Collodi's original tale. Think the real Brothers Grimm and other cautionary fairytales. The House version is milk-and-cookies in comparison. It's enjoyable, imaginative and suitable for children perhaps as young as eight or nine, but it's not a definitive telling (which appears not to have been a goal). However, by making it a platform for issues we recognize as current, the adapters may have limited its staying power. Only time and revivals will tell."
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Jonathon Abarbanel

NewCity Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...For those curious to see what would happen if “Shrek” were directed by Hayao Miyazaki, The House Theatre’s production of “Pinocchio” might be the next best thing. A marvelous and magical world premiere production that’s intermittently too self-aware for its own good, the world-famous wooden boy (originally created by Italian author Carlo Collodi) is brought to life here by the brilliant craftwork of Chicago Puppet Studios, while puppeteered and voiced by the masterful Sean Garratt. Broadway may have “King Kong,” but that ape puppet’s got nothing on the wooden boy who’ll steal your heart."
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Ben Kaye

Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...While this isn’t the Disney version, or even Carlo Collodi’s original novel, both inspire this unusual, contemporary-feeling story about how in truth lay strength and power. There’s a lot to be enjoyed in this new adaptation, as well as much to be learned about bullying, lying and learning to just be yourself. So what if Pinocchio doesn’t become a real boy? By the end of this tale, he understands how important it is to simply be comfortable in his own skin. And that’s a lesson we can all apply to our lives."
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Colin Douglas

The Fourth Walsh- Highly Recommended

"...Director Chris Matthews seamlessly navigates the action from store to school to forest to whale stomach. His creative team (Joe Schermoly-scenic, Alexander Ridgers-lighting, Anna Wooden-costumes) support the story with evolving and interesting visual aides. The edge of the forest also serves as screens for projections. The terrific ensemble is dressed in matching school uniforms or early 1900s prim sensibility. I really enjoyed most all aspects of this production."
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Katy Walsh

Picture This Post- Recommended

"...Inspired rather than discouraged, Pinocchio embarks on many adventures. There is schoolteacher Miss Penny who regards nature as “an impulse that must be restrained,” the wise Blue Fairy in the forest and traveling musicians who teach him to perform. For this viewer, PINOCCHIO gets weighed down by too many storylines that distract from Pinocchio and Geppetto’s journey to create their own unique family. But the script keeps the show on swift footsteps with its humor. The laughs emerge effortlessly, a reminder that the serious business of growing up is much easier when it also includes a healthy dose of funny business."
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Susan Lieberman