The National Ballet of Canada
Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
March 11, 2017
by Denise Sum
copyright © by Denise Sum 2017
Advertised as "the perfect outing for march break", Will Tuckett's frenetic production of "Pinocchio" premiered on a frigid Saturday to an audience ready for a feel-good escape. This new full-length work follows in a similar vein as the company's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Le Petit Prince" -- family-friendly ballets with recognizable stories and brilliant special effects, yet little meat in terms of actual dancing. This "Pinocchio" is visually appealing and not without its moments of charm and wit. Tuckett has mentioned in interviews that his goal was to make the art form more accessible and attract new audience members. This ballet just might do so. The inclusion of speaking roles and dazzling feats of stage craft are certainly tailored to draw in the Broadway or West End theater-going crowd, not surprising given Tuckett's multidisciplinary bent. Still, one has to wonder if this is the best approach. Will fans of this genre of souped up dance theater continue to show up and support the ballet in its other guises?
Photo: Robert Stephen, Brent Parolin, Skylar Campbell and Alexandra MacDonald in "Pinocchio". Photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic.