By: Wendy Sheard, TRP Reviewer
Roll up, roll up, its panto time and the Crossroads Pantomime production of Goldilocks and the Three Bears is the perfect way to enjoy all the delights, mayhem and chaos a traditional pantomime offers.
Set in the world of circus, we meet an array of characters including Baron Von Bolshoi [boo!] played menacingly by Brendon Cole, Joey the Clown, our hero and panto favourite [hurrah!] brought to us by Adam C Booth, as well as Dame Kelly Holmes who plays Ringmistress Olympia, Goldilocks, our heroine, beautifully portrayed by Alexandra Mardell and of course the Three [Janner] Bears themselves; Rexford Boadu as Daddy Bear, Emily Law as Mummy Bear and Eleanor Walsh playing the very cute baby bear!
As if this wasn’t enough, Steve Hewlett brings his brilliant skills as a ventriloquist to the character of Silly Billy, Samuel Holmes charms the audience throughout as the camp, Larry the Lion Tamer and to top it all off we have juggler extraordinaire, the marvellous Gordon Marques as El Mariachi Marques.
The Ensemble, Senior and Junior are also magnificent, undertaking a variety of roles from A – Z, everything from acrobats to zebras, you really do have to see it to believe it!
Goldilocks and the Three Bears has it all, typical panto jokes, audience participation [Oh yes there is!], lavish costumes, and a marvellous musical score all complimented by brilliant lighting and pyrotechnics which add sparkle and pizazz to the whole performance.
The production team led by Pete Kramer has crammed so much into this Christmas spectacular; it is a joyous combination of everything which makes a panto the perfect start to the festive season. When else would you see Olympian Dame Kelly sat atop an elephant [yes, an elephant], Brendon Cole dance a Paso Doble and hippos perform ballet, all on the same stage?
It is the attention to detail which Crossroads Pantomimes give to the production process which makes this performance so compelling, with care and consideration for the set design, stage management and casting as well as a script which plays homage to the local area. Plymouth themed jokes are peppered throughout, the Janner accent is loud and proud, even Devonport Playhouse gets a mention!
I was joined by a lovely teenager who loved every aspect of the performance, we both found it difficult to pinpoint a particular favourite element however the finale was spectacular; glitz, glamour, it has it all! Panto is the quintessential inter-generational theatrical experience, something for the whole family to enjoy; silly jokes, sillier songs and of course a happy ending where kindness and gentleness triumphs over evil and cruelty. Hurrah!
So, visit the Big Top, meet Goldilocks and the Three Bears and the other colourful characters, enjoy the music, singing and dancing because just like Baby Bear’s porridge, it is ‘just right!’