Review: Less is more in Talisman Theatre's festive treat

Charles Essex reviews Goldilocks and the Three Bears at the Talisman Theatre, Kenilworth

Sam Harris as Goldilocks (centre) with Daddy, Mummy and Baby Bear
Sam Harris as Goldilocks (centre) with Daddy, Mummy and Baby Bear

On a really cold night the audience was warmed by this wonderful variation on the Goldilocks story.

Goldilocks (Sam Harris) teams up with the three bears to defeat the dastardly Gasper Gray (Rob Jones) who is trying to bankrupt the carnival owner Sophie Sawdust (Matt Baxter) and force Goldilocks to marry him.

The main actors had extensive stage pedigrees and this production allowed them to demonstrate their versatility. Paul Sully, who has previously played one of the characters in Bouncers, charmed the audience with his happy-go-lucky character Jocko, who was yearning for magician’s assistant Gloria (the ever-dependable Rosie Gowers).

Gasper’s henchmen Sharon Sully (Swindle) and Billy Arnold (Filch) had excellent chemistry and timing, with Sharon showing her dramatic training to good effect and Billy’s performances going from strength to strength over recent performances, displaying a relaxed and confident manner beyond his years.

The Talisman’s experienced cast and crew put on a performance that really engaged the children especially. This production was ideal for a younger audience with gentle humour and straightforward short dance routines. The dance troupes did well, and less was more rather than trying to be too clever or perform routines that were too lengthy. One lift and spin could have graced Strictly!

The use of some well-known songs worked well, punctuated with original pieces which were humorous and engaging. The set designs by Wendy Morris were bright and cheerful, capturing the mood of carnival effectively. In the old house, clever use of portraits with gauze, which were intermittently backlit, allowed actors behind to be seen and then ‘disappear’. Written by The Talisman’s Steve Duckham, this pantomime deservedly had an almost full house, and the rest of the run is nearly sold out.

Goldilocks and The Three Bears runs until December 31. Visit talismantheatre.co.uk or call 01926 856548 to book tickets or for more information.