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

How do you like it? Gender and politics in Shakespeare at the New Theatre Royal

Have your say

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.