Saturday, 7 December 2019

REVIEW: Goldilocks and Three Bears at the Kings Theatre, Edinburgh



Allan Stewart first appeared in Pantomime at Kings theatre in 1989 and this year is his 22nd consecutive year in the annual Pantomime and his Auntie May character has been established as one of the greats of Scottish Comedy . In this years Christmas production the story has been stripped back to the bear-est of plots, set in Auntie May's circus and creating the perfect location for a traditional variety show which felt like it had delved back into the archives for comedy routines. It works because it is not a one "woman" show but a great team effort with the help of Gillian Parkhouse as Goldilocks, Grant Stott as the evil Baron, Jordan Young as Joey the clown and the triumphant return of Andy Gray as the ringmaster Andy McReekie. These talented five work well together sharing the limelight and the laugh lines and creating plenty of opportunities for faux mistakes and corpsing. 

The design by Ian Westbrook is excellent creating the feel of the circus and the Greatest Show on Earth from the moment you step into the glorious Kings Theatre auditorium with its eighteen boxes festooned in fairy lights and the stage creating the inside of the big top for most scenes.

The circus ring is a perfect setting for the juggler Alfio juggling footballs, tennis balls and hats and the fabulous Berserk riders doing their dangerous looking four kawasaki's inside the Globe of Death. Young joins in the fun doing a fairly nervous looking tight rope act to close the first half. 

It is a long time since I have seen the famous Eli Woods and Jimmy James routine about the animals in the shoe box but it fits perfectly here alongside the delivery of Christmas messages to three neighbours Mr Who , Mr What and Mr Idontknowwho which are both expertly delivered and timed by Stewart and Gray. They also include a well executed ventriloquism mastermind routine as Nicola Sturgeon with the usual corny and risqué jokes. However the CCTV business with the audience and the overused lip sync music routine seemed to fit in less well with the show and the song sheet reduced to a weak singalong of Nickety Nackety Noo.

There are also of course plenty of animals in the circus with a strong message about cruelty to caged animals. We see the winky wonky stinky three legged donkey, dancing hippos, a wonderful puppet elephant, a chained monkey and giraffes! As well of course the three talking bears of the title who eventually make an appearance and enable the Reenactment of the famous fairy tale in their cottage. King Kong also makes an appearance but it felt like a left over from some cut business to keep the show length to under 2 hours fifteen minutes. 

It is a good looking show, colourful, energetic, fast moving and of course the audience love the familiar performers and their routines but it is hardly a traditional pantomime. It is however very good Christmas entertainment for all the family with the innuendo kept to a minimum and not a ring joke anywhere. 

Review by Nick Wayne

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: Stalls Row G | Price of Ticket: £36
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