‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh – a sparkling, fun Festive show for all the family
“Once upon a time there were three Bears, who lived together in a house of their own, in a wood. One of them was a Little Wee Bear, and one was a Middle-sized Bear, and the other was a Great Big Bear. They had each a bowl for their porridge ..” A literary fairy tale, Robert Southey, 1837
Yes, folks it’s the annual Panto season and the legendary comedy cast is back together at the King’s Theatre – Allan Stewart, Grant Stott and Andy Gray. You might be thinking that they take on the roles of the Three Bears – but oh no, they don’t. As always, they play the traditional characters of the Dame, Villain and hapless Stooge.
This is not just a cute wee Christmas show appealing to the kids but “ a re-imagining of the classic bedtime story in a circus-set adventure packed full of the thrills, spills, dazzling stunts and jaw-dropping special effects.”
And so with a modern, Edinburgh-based twist, the story begins, “Once Upon a Time on the shores of the Forth, before Poundland opened on Princes Street, there was the Greatest Show on Earth ..”
Enter the glamorous and glitzy Dame May McReekie and her husband, Andy McReekie, who is the Ringmaster of their family Circus which they want to turn into the Greatest Show on Earth with a new star act.
Having missed the Pantomime last year due to illness, there was a rousing reception for Andy Gray as he emerges from behind the Chorus Line’s flutter of pink Ostrich feathers, in a smart red tailcoat and top-hat. There was no other first line he could possibly utter than “Ah’ve no been very weeel” with his cheeky smirk, greeted by rapturous applause.
As always, there’s an evil enemy – this year in the guise of the sinister Baron Von Vinklebottom, the McReekie’s rival and cruel circus owner who proudly admits to whipping his animals, locked up in cages. Dressed in a tight fitting, zebra print suit and plumed hat, Grant Stott struts like a peacock which with his outrageous, cod German accent receives a volley of boos from the audience.
So where is the element of Fairy Tale the wee boys and girls are expecting?
The McReekie’s daughter is the sweet, blonde Goldilocks who with Joey the Clown audition circus acts and find three charming Singing Bears to save the family Circus. But of course, the dastardly Baron is keen to grab the bears to star in his own wicked show.
As the rather crazy, comic narrative unfolds, The Greatest Show presents a display of dazzling entertainment, a medley of song and dance from Goldilocks, the Ensemble and Edinburgh Dance Academy.
But a surprise is in store with exciting speciality acts – Joey the Clown walking the tightrope, (the multi- talented, actor, singer, acrobat Jordan Young), and the great Juggling Alfio from a fourth generation family of Spanish Circus performers. The Beserk Riders also race their motorbikes at full speed around, up and over a huge domed cage, much to the shrieks of adults and kids alike.
The Victorian children’s nursery tale has certainly been re-imagined with a huge spoonful of both porridge and artistic licence, located to a Big Top of lions and tigers and bears, oh my!.
The only quibble is that the ending is rather abrupt with just a quick audience singalong before the sparkling Finale Curtain Call. A touch of romantic fairy dust is perhaps required to tie up the loose ends of the sweet friendship between Goldilocks, the Three Bears and Joey the Clown.
With boisterous banter, silly jokes and a dollop of adlibbing, the stalwart trio of Stewart, Stott and Gray, has matured over the past twenty years with fabulous flair and laugh-out-loud hilarity. Like the M&S adverts, this is not just a pantomime, but a King’s Theatre pantomime, a tasty, delicious, fun-filled treat for all the family of all ages.
King’s Theatre, Leven Street, Edinburgh
30 November 2019 to 19 January, 2020.
Box office, 0131 529 6000.
For lunch or supper, before or after the show, a warm recommendation to visit Frizzante, the well established, family run Italian Ristorante – great value pre-theatre menus, children’s menus, pizza, pasta, classic dishes, Prosecco, wines and beers, not forgetting Limoncello to end your meal.
Just a five minute walk around the corner from the King’s at 95 Lothian Road.
Book your table: Tel. 0131 229 7788 https://frizzanterestaurant.uk/