The National Theatre has been serving up a string of strong hits of late from Angels in America to Network and now Pinnochio. This sumptuous production is the kind of charming production that will win over children and adult alike with innovative puppetry, expert staging, and songs that you will be toe-tapping along to.
The musical includes classics like ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’ and you must wonder how they managed to secure permission from Disney. Perhaps the talented team persuaded them including the likes of director John Tiffany and music supervisor Martin Lowe (both worked on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and set designer Bob Crowley (who worked on Mary Poppins).
The story flows with consummate ease and the tale is brought to life with some of the most vivid set designs you would have ever seen, including a spectacular whale scene and the dazzling neon signs of pleasure island. This is one production that demands a West End transfer.
To top off a splendid show, they offer a HI-DIDDLE-DEE Tea set in the House restaurant. It is based on pleasure island themed-treats, so you get a very indulgent selection of desserts and finger sandwiches. The presentation might be deceptively playful and childlike, however, the quality of the food rivals the best afternoon teas from top London hotels.
I’ve never seen fine beans used in finger sandwiches, but their version works remarkably well along with hummus and peppers to offer a pleasing variation in texture. The ham sandwiches used high-quality wafer-thin meat and the sheer quality meant I was hankering for even more savoury options. That was partially satisfied with warm Stromboli calzones, but my nose would be longer than Pinnochio’s if I said I would have refused another plate of the delectable sandwiches.
The sweet items were all enjoyable items such as hard-boiled sweets with dried strawberries and rainbow sprinkles and colourful candyfloss lollipops. They weren’t exactly items I would order normally, but perfectly petite in size and brought back beautiful memories of carefree childhood summers.
The requisite afternoon tea item: scones were also served. Whilst, they were well-constructed, it would have been even better if they were served warm. Finally, the blue fairy cakes were some of the best I’ve had, it had a superbly moist texture with just the right amount of frosting on top.
Make sure you check out this wonderful show and afternoon tea experience before the end of March.