Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The London Palladium,
***** 5 Stars
“ biggest, funniest and most charming pantomime in the country.!!”
The greatest show on earth comes to the home of variety in the heart of London’s west end and delivers a masterclass in Pantomime Magic. Qdos pantomimes and director Michael Harrison have once again raised the bar and produced the biggest, funniest and most charming pantomime in the country.
Goldilocks is the toughest panto story to pull off as on its own is simply not strong enough so transposing the story to the world of the circus brings thrilling twist to the tale, and allows for some of the worlds greatest circus acts to be included in the show and it truly adds the wow factor.
Palladium panto regulars return, with Julian Clary in the form of his life, playing Ringo the Ringmaster the innuendo and comedy comes flowing from him at a rate of knots and he is bedecked in Hugh Durrants outrageous costumes he is the lynch pin of the production. Returning to the palladium is Paul O’Grady as Baron Von Savage the owner of the circus of horrors a Marlena Dietrich inspired baddie that delivers on all levels, panto is better for having O’Grady back in the fold. Paul Zerdin as Silly Billy and cheeky chappy Sam continue to push the artform of Ventriloquism and bring family charm to the show. Gary Wilmot dawns the frock as Dame Betty Barnum and is simply wonderful his tribute to the west end with the biggest mash up in musical theatre is a stunning moment. Nigel Havers also returns but this time he has a character, Daddy Bear but the ongoing gag and schtick continues and really adds a special something to the show. The regulars are joined by Janine Duvitski as Mummy Bear is playing her “Benidorm” character to the hilt with the sexy humour dialled down. Lauren Stroud as Baby bear and Sophie Issacs as Goldilocks. The big surprise as Joey the Clown is the one shows Matt Baker. He simple excels performing comedy and stunts with ease. The principals work together as a cohesive unit and it benefits the show no end. The stars of the show are supported by a 16 strong ensemble, the palladium panto has no half measures.
Highlights of the show include a brilliantly delivered “pheasant Plucker” sketch and “if I were not upon the stage” Routine that bring together classic pantomime with magic that modern audiences crave. The stunts of the show are delivered by specialty acts, Peter Pavlov and the Globe of Speed, The Skating Medini and Phil Hitchcock’s wonderful illusions. Every one of them brings unique variety to the fore and should be commended for their excellence.
Ian Westbrook of 3D Creations set is a riot of colour that truly brings the big top to the Palladium. This is bolstered by Ben Cracknells excellent lighting design that sees the auditorium dripping in festoons. It Makes Von Savage joke of “ you can see where the budget went, Julian Clary’s costumes and lightbulbs” all the funnier. Greg Arrowsmith’s 12 strong orchestra brings full throttle music to live and is aided by Garth Owens excellent sound design.
The London Palladium pantomimes are born purely of love and dedication to the art form of pantomime that has seen them win the Olivier Award. Its richly deserved and with confirmation that the Palladium will host pantomime again in 2020 the legacy goes on. For Michael Harrison and Qdos the challenge to improve year on year will be met for now however and for Goldilocks Get to the Palladium, beg, borrow or steal a ticket for the greatest show on Earth.
Qdos Presents “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”, The London Palladium, London runs until Sunday 12th January 2020 Tickets from £22 go to https://www.palladiumpantomime.com/