Shakespeare by the Sea has spruced up the children's classic Pinocchio with some quirky new characters (a muscle-shirted clam and a bearded baby for starters), lovely, hummable tunes rooted in Italian folk music and clever humour that will leave you laughing. Melissa MacGougan gives an anything-but-wooden performance as the titular would-be boy, who is led astray by the delightfully shady Fox (Tom Gordon Smith) and the slightly dense Cat (Dan Bray). Their devilish plot lures Pinocchio away from the doting, elderly Gepetto (Daniel Gervais) and into the clutches of Wendell (Dorian Lang), the harsh master of Donkey Island.
Pinocchio's journey from lifeless puppet to loving son rings true and is actually heart-warming, but the sentiment never bogs down the sheer fun of this play. Theatre magic and imagination make anything possible: Silky blue fabric becomes the ocean (it helps that the actors mutter "water, water, water" when it appears) and Pinocchio's nose grows in the blink of an eye—or in several beats of a joke.
Family shows are always popular at SBTS, but this one returns to the company's roots of memorable music combined with great comedy. I'm going to go out on a limb and say Pinocchio will be a hit.
Various days and times through September 4
Cambridge Battery, Point Pleasant Park