Brett Herriot Review

Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Kings Theatre, Edinburgh Review:

Goldilocks and the Three Bears, 

***** 5 Stars

“the ultimate Christmas treat”

Goldilocks is the universally accepted “Circus” pantomime, its story line of the girl who finds the cottage in the woods with three chairs, three bowls of porridge and three beds isn’t a strong enough narrative to pull off a full pantomime so the action is moved to the world of the circus.

In this production Goldilocks ( the wonderfully honey voiced Gillian Parkhouse) works and lives in her mother and father’s circus. Dame May McReekie (Allan Stewart at the very top of his game, with a plethora of over the tops frocks and what remains simple the best legs in the business) and Andy McReekie The Ringmaster (Andy Gray returning in a blaze of glory to the king’s following a period of ill health, his entrance alone, think billy Flynn in Chicago, is a unique moment in itself) are in dire straits, the bills are piled high and they need a star act to bring in the crowds to save them.

Fighting against them is the evil Baron Von Vinklebottom (Grant Stott in top hat and tails with a whip being as bad as only he can be and doing it bloody well to boot) the evil baron sees no problem in using animals in his circus as well as stealing what ever acts he chooses. So, when Goldilocks comes across three bears (Clare Gray, Ross Finnie and Darren Brownlie) in the wood who can, walk, talk and entertain with comedy musical numbers McReekies circus can be saved if only they can overcome the evil Baron and his wicked plans.

No Panto is complete without a love story enter Joey the Clown (The outstanding Jordan Young making his King’s panto debut, following a decade in Aberdeen. Young is known for playing a hard-bitten gangster in BBC River City, don’t expect any sign of that here, his comedic ability and overt physical performance is awesome) he wants both Goldilocks and to be the star of the show himself. Can he get his dreams at the girl? Its fun journey finding out.

The performances are uniformly excellent but its important to understand, Goldilocks is intentionally a very different pantomime, it stretches the format into a huge hybrid. Part Panto, Part Circus, Part pure vaudeville. Its impossible to compare it with “Cinderella” or “Aladdin” as it stands alone, and this show really sets an incredibly high benchmark for its production values.

Featuring two circus speciality acts The Great Juggling Alfio and the Berserk Riders (which is a stunning and scary high-octane moment for the petrol heads) an eight strong ensemble, a troop of babes and the McReekie Circus is brought gloriously to life. Comedy is tight and clever, the sketches well judged and music at his usual excellent calibre thanks to Musical Director Andy Pickering and the King’s Theatre Orchestra.

Ian Westbrook of 3d Creations has delivered a spectacular set that’s a riot of colour and charm especially under Matt Clutterham’s stunning Lighting design which sees the ornate King’s auditorium decked out in hundreds of festoon lights. Director Ed Curtis has delivered in spectacular style alongside the trio of Stewart, Gray and Stott they have taken the panto in bold new direction and It works, truly delivering the ultimate Christmas treat.

For those who prefer a more classic pantomime fear not for next year the boys return with The Sleeping Beauty for the first time 26 years! And better still Jordan Young will be with them! But for now, grab a ticket and head to McReekies Circus for the Greatest Show on Earth.

The King’s Edinburgh and Qdos Pantomimes present “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”, The King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, Runs until Sunday 19th January 2019. For tickets go to: https://www.capitaltheatres.com/whats-on/goldilocks

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