Arts Preview Singapore Theatre

Preview: Pinocchio by Wild Rice

Come 17th November, Wild Rice is back with their annual pantomime. This time around, they’ll be taking on Carlo Collodi’s classic tale of Pinocchio, an eye-popping, family-friendly new musical about a puppet who longs to become a real boy. This proudly Singaporean adaptation of the Italian fairy tale is a hilarious, heartwarming celebration of family, friendship and the importance of being true to yourself.

Pinocchio reunites three core members of the creative dream team that first delighted audiences with Peter Pan in Serangoon Gardens (2019) – playwright Thomas Lim, lyricist Joel Tan and composer Julian Wong. “As a story, Pinocchio interests me because it examines why people – not just children – tell lies. Some tell lies to get what they want. Some tell lies to protect others from the painful truth,” says Lim. “But I wanted to take a good look at the lies we tell about ourselves because we are afraid that other people will not like or love us for who we really are.”

In this cheekily on-the-nose musical adaptation of the classic fairy tale, Wild Rice brings one of the world’s most beloved characters to the Singapore stage. Meet Pinocchio, a wooden puppet crafted with loving care by Geppetto – a kind, humble carpenter who has always dreamt of becoming a father. With a wish and a touch of fairy magic, Pinocchio springs to life… but there are some strings attached! To become a real boy, Pinocchio must first prove himself to be brave, kind and true. It’s a challenge the little puppet is determined to overcome – until he is led astray by a pair of wily con artists, and swept up in a madcap misadventure that takes him from the tempting promise of the circus to the deepest depths of the fathomless sea.

This brand-new holiday musical also features the talents of multiple pantomime veterans – from director Pam Oei, who helmed Wild Rice’s Mama White Snake (2017) and The Emperor’s New Clothes (2015) to critical acclaim, to a fabulous cast led by Mae Elliessa as Pinocchio, Ebi Shankara as Gepetto, Siti Khalijah Zainal as G-Hopper, as well as Dwayne Lau, Michelle Ler and Vester Ng.

For the first time in three years, the production will be welcoming the First Stage Kids back on stage. Aged 5 to 12, these adorable child performers have long been a highlight of Wild Rice’s holiday musicals. Unfortunately, pandemic restrictions have prevented the company from casting children in recent shows like The Amazing Celestial Race and Momotaro and the Magnificent Peach.

“Truth be told, Pinocchio is the perfect way for all of us – young and old, big and small – to end this year on a high,” promises Oei. “I’m so excited to work with the incredible team we’ve assembled to reinvigorate this beloved classic for Singapore audiences: to fill it with magic and good cheer and laughter and joy!”

Pinocchio runs from 17th November to 24th December 2022 at the The Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre at Wild Rice @ Funan. Tickets and more information available here

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