FamilyPantomimeReviewSouth West

Goldilocks and the Three Bears – Theatre Royal Plymouth

Reviewer: Thomas George

Writer: Alan McHugh

Additional material: Steve Hewlett & Matt Slack

Director: Jonathan Kiley

Choreographer: Paul Robinson

Musical Director: Joseph Morley

Roll up, roll up, welcome to the magic of pantomime crossed with the craziness of the circus. Your pantomime baddy, best friend and hero mixed with a juggler, a clown, a lion tamer, and a ventriloquist along with his many friends… what could go wrong?

Goldilocks and the Three Bears is a pantomime with a twist, dazzling lights and amazing sets. The evil Barron Von Bolshoi (Brendan Cole) is trying to sabotage Ringmistress Olympia’s (Dame Kelly Holmes) circus. When the wicked Baron kidnaps the star of the show Baby Bear (Eleanor Walsh), Joey the Clown (Adam C Booth) pulls out all his circus stops in an attempt to woo Goldilocks (Alexandra Mardell) and save the circus but who will succeed and who will be left disappointed.

With Brendan Cole being the staring name in this pantomime, it is expected that there would be some dancing… but maybe not this much. Replacing the witty songs and lyrical comedy are high-energy and glittery dances. The opening number of both acts would be at home in a west-end musical and routines throughout will sustain your Strictly fix for the festive period. The choreography by Paul Robinson is simply sublime and must contain some of the best Pantomime dancing in the country.

The scale of the set encompasses this production, with countless scenic elements and a number of frighteningly large animals the designer (Ian Westbrook) brings to life the circus. From the first sight of the theatre wrapped to look like a circus tent to the final curtain, there is a carnival of majestic sights to be witnessed.

An eye-watering element is the lights, in their hundreds if not thousands framing the stage. The exquisite lighting design (Ben Cracknell) brings the stage to life, keeps you on the edge of your seat and takes you on a journey from zero to one hundred. Make sure to take your sunglasses, you might need them.

At times the show feels like a west-end musical mixed with a cabaret night at the Palladium. The individualistic scenes mean it is never long before you are entertained in some way. Packed full of pantomime classics and audience interaction the show delivers your staple annual fix.

However, this different pantomime leaves the audience behind on their journey at times. With much of the audience having to learn the production’s plot points for the first time there feels to be a labour, on both sides of the curtain, even with the talent on display. Add to this a rapid fire of jokes, with several of them struggling to land. There is at times a deathly feel to the auditorium, especially in the first act; but if you can make it through your interval ice cream then the second act is full of edge-of-your-seat action, hilarious audience interaction and impressive circus skills.

Although not a classic pantomime and certainly one with numerous modern twists, it offers something different and leaves audiences not knowing what to expect. There is something for everyone in elements of this show, so why don’t you join the Plymouth circus this festive period. You are in for a festive treat.

Runs until 13th January 2024

The Reviews Hub Score

“is just alright”

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The Reviews Hub - South West

The Southwest team is under the editorship of John McRoberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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