I want to be a real boy for Christmas time

Ben Craze and Fox Jackson- Keen
Ben Craze and Fox Jackson- Keen
As You Like It, with Jessica Hayles centre. Picture by Keith Pattison

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A wooden puppet dreams of a

new life in The Berry Theatre’s festive production of Pinocchio from next Friday until Christmas Eve.

And a former star of Billy Elliott The Musical is to take the lead in this year’s Christmas show.

Taking on the role is Fox Jackson-Keen.

The young actor, who is originally from London, appeared in the title role in Billy Elliott The Musical for more than two years, as well as taking a leading role in CITV’s My Phone Genie.

More recently he performed in the stage version of the Philip Pullman novel I Was A Rat, playing the part of Roger the rat.

The role of Gepetto will be played by Winchester-based actor Ben Craze, whose past appearances have included Jonathan Creek, My Hero with Fraser Burrows and Holby City.

Adapted by Toby Hulse and directed by Owen Calvert-Lyons at the Hedge End theatre, Pinocchio has to learn to be good and realises it isn’t always easy.

Audience members can expect a production packed with magical characters, cartwheels and circus antics.

Mr Calvert-Lyons, who is also the artistic director at the Berry’s sister venue The Point in Eastleigh, says: ‘I love the story of Pinocchio.

‘It’s all about growing up and how exciting the world can be when you are experiencing things for the first time.’

Tickets: £8 to £11 from The Berry Theatre, Hedge End, on (01489) 799499 or go to the website, theberrytheatre.co.uk.