Goldilocks, Talisman Theatre
FROM the opening number to the final curtain, the Christmas spirit has not just arrived at the Talisman but settled in, blossomed and is clearly intent on having a ball.
Slapstick in spades, jokes that may be older than many of the cast, costumes which deserve an ovation of their own and every invitation for the audience to join in – it’s all here.
The relentless commercialisation of Christmas has had its effect on this fine old tradition. Many theatres now seem to offer festive shows that are little more than vehicles for disappointingly minor celebrities.
Happy it is then, to report no such disappointment here.
The Talisman has been producing pantomimes in this mould for decades and many who had their first live theatre experience here and now returning with children – grandchildren even – of their own to enjoy what’s offered.
What’s on offer hasn’t changed a great deal over those years. A magical attention to detail from those designing and building the splendidly complex set, and a cast never once letting the energy and commitment sag.
This reworking of the Goldilocks story from the pen of seasoned pantomime writer Stephen Duckham follows the pattern of many before. It’s sharp and abundantly accessible to the young audience but with just the right amount of topical touches to keep the older minds attentive. And, in pleasing contrast to many a professional offering, nowhere is there even the hint of smut.
Such has been the severity of this recent Arctic snap that many in the audience will have envied Goldilocks the chance to bolt down a bowl or two of hot porridge. But the feast of fun provides a lot more to satisfy the appetite.
The songs and routines are terrific with no duff performances. Instead the quality is high, the choreography imaginative and the sheer effort outstanding in everything from Friends to show songs and ballads.
With around thirty performers on the stage there’s little point in singling out star turns – nobody disappoints. Instead perhaps the spotlight should turn on the unflagging direction of Gill Halford and the breath-taking design from Wendy Morris.
Pantomime is all about live theatre offering young eyes their first glimpse of magic and there’s plenty to spare here.
The panto runs until December 31. Tickets are sparse for the remaining dates in this run but your efforts could just result in a family outing to remember. Full details can be found at www.talismantheatre.co.uk