Panto review: Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Mayflower Theatre
DAZZLING special effects, epic showmanship and a top-notch celebrity cast propelled Southampton Mayflower Theatre’s seasonal panto Goldilocks and the Three Bears to dizzying heights.
While retaining many of the elements of a traditional panto, the incredible hi-tech production was also peppered with world-class circus acts, breathtaking pyrotechnics and the most incredible array of props.
Based very loosely on the children’s fairytale, writer Alan McHugh set his story around two rival circuses, run by the brilliantly flamboyant Dame Betty Barnum and the cruel and dastardly Count Ramsay of Erinsborough (!).
Things are not going well at Betty Barnum’s circus, despite the best efforts of her loyal son Joey the Clown and his close friend Goldilocks. With animals to feed and crowds waning, Betty realises she is facing bankruptcy unless she can recruit a brilliant new act.
Suddenly, fresh hope arrives in the form of the singing and dancing Baby Bear, who looks set for superstardom. However, circus rival Count Ramsey quickly hatches a wicked plan to capture and imprison the trio of bears.
A firm favourite with audiences in the venues 2021 panto Cinderella, Richard Cadell returned with his best friends Sooty and Sweep as a perfect choice for the role of Joey the Clown. Engaging with the audiences readily and ensuring innuendo was plentiful, Richard delivered a whole array of ‘adult’ jokes while simultaneously entertaining younger audience members who were none the wiser!
Alongside him, Jason Donovan was superb in the role of panto baddie Count Ramsay. Demonstrating a wonderful ability to laugh at himself during frequent references to Neighbours, Home and Away, and a lengthy stint in Joseph, Jason also shared great on-stage chemistry with Richard.
Coronation Street star Faye Brookes put in an endearing performance as Goldilocks, singing beautifully and readily joining with various madcap antics. Stepping into the sizeable shoes of Dame Betty Barnum was the wonderful Adam Strong whose flamboyance and comic timing were absolutely spot on.
The production itself was so lavish it’s almost difficult to know where to begin – everything was designed to dazzle, from the incredible moving animals to the lively musical numbers, daredevil circus acts and spectacular costumes. Lighting, designed by Ben Cracknell, is so immense it’s hard to convey just how much it brought to the already colourful show.
While the storyline seemed like something of an afterthought, it really didn’t matter with a production of this calibre. If you love the circus, the panto or both, this really is one show that you won’t want to miss!
Goldilocks and the Three Bears is at Southampton Mayflower Theatre until 31st December. For more information and tickets visit www.mayflower.org.uk