A playful yet poignant retelling of the tale of Pinocchio, The Greatest Liar In All The World‘s conceit is that the little wooden puppet is now all grown up, eking out a living in a ramshackle circus where his ability to spin preposterous tales is the headline act. Yet behind the roar of the crowd and the smell of the greasepaint, Pinocchio is lost: searching in vain for the one true love of his life.
Blending puppetry, clowning, music and comedy to compelling effect, Famila de la Noche’s five-strong cast create a story which weaves from pastiche to pathos whilst captivating throughout. With more than a nod to the work of Les Enfants Terribles, their story is a morality tale which – though suitable for children – does not shy away from the dark shadows which define it.
Performances are strong, with the title character in particular portraying a convincing world-weariness and sense of loss as he recounts his life. Despite a mute performance, the Chaplinesque clown also displays a wide range, shuffling from comedic light relief to heart-wrenching emotion by the end of the show’s sixty-minute length.
There are one or two moments when the mix of theatrical styles leads to a slight loss of cohesion, but things are quickly brought back on track thanks to the watchable performances and a strong story. And though the once-wooden Pinocchio of The Greatest Liar In All The World is here very much a real man, the show’s strength lies in revealing the splinter which remains lodged in his heart.
The Greatest Liar In All The World runs at the Pleasance until 25 Aug