Goldilocks & the Three Bears - Online

"It must be said that the staging is visually stunning"

Roll up! roll up! It’s time to get your tickets and take your ringside seats to New Wolsey’s annual rock and roll pantomime ‘Goldilocks and The Three Bears.’  

Initially, I felt slightly sceptical about reviewing this pantomime as I had never seen this classic tale being performed as a pantomime before. However, I felt confident in the knowledge that it was in the faithful hands of Peter Rowe. Peter Rowe has previously worked on Theatr Clwyd’s annual rock and roll pantos, and it was lovely to see a similar style of panto being performed at a different theatre.  

We all know the classic story of ‘Goldilocks and The Three Bears’, but this pantomime gives it a slight twist. Instead, the story is based around our panto dame Belinda (Steve Simmonds), whose big top circus troupe has fallen on hard times. Her biggest rival, and our panto villain Wilberforce T. Whippum (Richard Costello), owns the wildlife circus down the road but plans to buy Belinda out. With a little help from her faithful friends, and some very lovable characters, a plan comes together to stop the evil Whippum from taking control.  

 It must be said that the staging is visually stunning. The stage takes form as a circus big top tent, which extends out into the auditorium. With the bonus of circus instrumental music being played as the audience takes their seats, it really gives the feel of being sat waiting for an exciting circus show. Whilst there are no set changes, there is good use of props and the additional use of signage entering from above the stage allows the storytelling to take place. There is good use of lighting throughout which contributes to the circus themed show. It also must be noted that there is good use of costumes. In particular, the Dame’s costumes are a pure joy, in particular the Belinda’s big top extravaganza! 

One of the highlights of this panto is that the cast members also become band members for the musical numbers. It is demonstrated through the fantastic instrumental solos throughout, that each member of the cast is a superb musician. There is a wide variety of rock, blues, pop and country and western songs. However, one criticism that must be made here is that the vocals seem a little weak in parts and this impacted on the delivery of the songs. However, Tasha Shanade who plays Mama Bear, must be commended on the fact that she is a powerhouse of a vocalist and steals the show with her vocals.  

Another standout performer is Luke Thornton, who plays lovable clown, Bobo. Having seen Luke at previous Theatr Clwyd pantos, it is evident that he is an all-rounder. He is a fantastic musician and vocalist and is so good at playing the character that we are all rooting for.  

Overall, the story is enjoyable. Some scenes feel slightly too long. For example – the scene in which Whippum performs his Goldilocks and The Three Bears act seems to lose its way a little and feels like there is a missed opportunity for some comedy and panto fun. I also feel that the villain’s role could have been a bit more overdramatic in order to gain more audience participation, which is what we all love about panto. There is good use of local and political jokes which lightens the mood and gets good response from the audience. There is also the expected adult humour, however this takes up most of the comedy and starts to feel a little inappropriate for a family show.  

This show was reviewed online on the 15th December 2022.  Tickets are available here: Goldilocks And The Three Bears at The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich . Catch the Pantomime until the 28th January 2023.

Review written by Vicky Humphreys

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