Anything that can hold the attention of a room full of 2-5 yr olds for 45 minutes, and keep the parents off their Iphones, deserves a big gold star. ‘Goldilocks’ by Little Angel Theatre was a thoroughly good piece of traditional children’s entertainment (and something that will remind parents of their childhood too).
Described as ‘table top’ puppetry, the puppets – Goldilocks and the three bears, didn’t stay on the ‘table’ for long. Anything but wooden, they flew and tumbled through the air with the expert help of performers Krystle Hylton and Amanda Wright – who sang, danced and entertained the audience beautifully.
We all know the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. Girl wanders through forest into empty house – porridge (too hot, too cold, just right), chairs and beds (too hard, too soft, just right). However it is the shear imagination of director Marleen Vermeulen which turns this well-worn path through the forest into an altogether more global adventure.
Enter our puppet Goldilocks, and this time she is no blondilocks. Instead her dark hair is platted with golden threads acquired on her travels. Just like her hair, the story is told in the main through music and songs, woven through with different languages and multi-cultural influences.
However, in this performance, it’s also out with porridge, as this family of bears have a liking for pizza!
“This pizza’s too hot to eat, so we’ll take a stroll right up the street!”
While short, it’s a busy performance which always has something going on – a song, a game, a dance, facial expressions, or a noise. Everything needed to distract and entertain small children who were delighted when the puppets came into the audience to say “hello”.
The set is made up of a collection of stacked boxes with hidden drawers – always an unexpected surprise and something to explore.
While clearly not aimed at me – I smiled and tapped my feet right from the off, as the children sitting on the floor in front of me jiggled and clapped in time to the music.
While slightly alarmed at the axing of porridge in favour of pizza, I was relieved when it finally did make an appearance at the end of the performance as a climactic celebratory porridgy treat.
Little Bear and Goldilocks stood at the door to say goodbye to us all as we left this really warm and charming production, which I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed.
But the last word should go to the children as they exited the Studio at The Royal Exchange Theatre - who could be overheard demanding pizza for lunch just like Middle Bear!
Goldilocks is appearing at The Studio, The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester as part of a UK Tour.
Little Angel Theatre
Directed by Marleen Vermeulen
Wednesday 7 March – Thursday 8 March, 2012
Ticket Price £10.00 Adults, £7.00 Concessions, £5 Under 26s & Students, £4.00 Under 13s.
Suitable for ages 2-5yrs
Box Office 0161 833 9833