Review by Clare Brennan
THERE haven’t been many times in my life when a show has genuinely left me speechless, but Goldilocks and The Three Bears at the Birmingham Hippodrome is so good it’s almost difficult to put into words – oh yes it is. . .
For my family and I the magic started long before the curtain rose. Being our first night out at the theatre in a very long time, just taking our seats in the auditorium was exciting enough. But our first glimpse of the set – a circus-themed kaleidoscope of colour and light – showed we were in for something rather special.
From the opening number, this show is an absolute delight. It’s two-and-a-half hours of colour, music and pure fun. Yes, it’s a panto, but it’s also so much more than that!
There were showgirls, acrobats, circus performers, a magician and daredevil motorcycle stunt riders, who brought the audience to their feet for a standing ovation long before the final curtain.
The fun-filled story follows the adventures of Dame Betty Barnum (Andrew Ryan) and her daughter Goldilocks (Samantha Dorrance) whose circus is under threat from rival circus owner, the Evil Ringmaster (Jason Donovan). Cue a madcap mission to rescue their Big Top from ruin. Will they succeed? – Oh Yes they Will. . .
I cried laughing at Matt Slack, who was without doubt, the star of the show as Ringo The Ringmaster. His comic genius borrowed from some of the all-time greats of light entertainment was sometimes risque, but perfectly positioned for this family audience.
Former Neighbours actor and 80s heartthrob Jason Donovan was deliciously devilish, marking his pantomime debut as Count Ramsey of Erinsborough, and Andrew Ryan’s portrayal as the vibrant yet endearing Dame Betty Barnum was exquisite.
And if it’s tapdancing bears you’re after(!) The Brummie Bears trio of Ewan Goddard, Georgie Anderson and Jessica Daugirda is an irresistible delight. And Samantha Dorrance brings a fresh-faced charm to the iconic title role.
At just a couple of weeks shy of her fifth birthday my youngest daughter was perhaps a little young to enjoy it all, my eldest daughter, aged ten, was in her element – shouting out, singing and gasping in awe. It was wonderful to be able to share the joy of theatre with them both again.
You might be forgiven for thinking that the show’s description as ‘The Greatest Panto on Earth’ is a bold one – but the team behind this exceptional extravaganza have more than justified this billing.
This circus-themed spectacle proves to be a night of magnificent family fun we won’t forget in a hurry – and the perfect antidote to blowing away those post-Christmas – and pandemic – blues.
Goldilocks and The Bears runs at the Birmingham Hippodrome until Sunday, 30 January. For tickets call 0844 338 5000 or visit here.