Tag Archives: Adam Trigg

Goldilocks And The Three Musketeers

★★★★★

Battersea Arts Centre

Goldilocks And The Three Musketeers

Goldilocks And The Three Musketeers

Battersea Arts Centre

Reviewed – 4th December 2019

★★★★★

 

“absurdly nonsensical but utterly brilliant – and definitely a case of all for fun and fun for all!”

 

A madcap mash-up of popular stories becomes a seasonal rib-tickling romp in the hands of a talented trio who could have walked straight off the set of The League of Gentlemen.

The insane Goldilocks and the Three Musketeers is the third Christmas show of its kind from Sleeping Trees and it’s worth trekking to Battersea Arts Centre to catch this energetic, daft and delightful production.

Within minutes the fairytale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears gives way to an imaginative saga in which an evil Alice (now Queen of Wonderland) has stolen the happy endings from lots of familiar stories, embittered by the fact that she doesn’t get a decent conclusion to her own book but just wakes from a dream.

Along the way to saving the day Goldilocks meets a host of well-known characters, from a remonstrative Mad Hatter (fresh out of tea-hab), a BFG reduced to size, a musical Greatest Snowman, singing elves and boyband Musketeers.

The story shoots off in many directions, yet never loses its way. Indeed, it’s a very well-crafted plot which – like good pantos – has plenty to appeal to the children yet remembers there are also adults wanting to be entertained in the audience.

Writers James Dunnell-Smith, Joshua George Smith and John Woodburn are an indefatigable trio bringing it all to life magically and confidently, aided by composer and performer Ben Hales, about whom we learn some fascinating facts which may nor may not be relevant to the unfolding drama.

Smith has more than an air of Christopher Biggins to him, “eggshelling” at playing a cracked Humpty Dumpty and others with an impish glee. Dunnell-Smith is an innocent but feisty Goldilocks, while Woodburn is a truly wicked Alice as well as channelling Hugh Jackman extraordinarily well to play the singing Snowman on a hunt for a carrot to give him a nose.

The three work together exceptionally well, showcasing to stunning effect their surreal, physical and pacey comedy credentials. So relentlessly engaging and entertaining are they that adults are more than likely to want to see their touring shows for the older audience during the year.

It might be a show for children but there is no playing down to anyone. All of the audience are drawn in to participate somehow and the trio all manage to handle any reaction from young watchers.

Director Kerry Frampton holds the reins, seemingly working on the basis that the barmier the better and the result is a happy ever after story that makes Shrek look like Andy Pandy.

Set and costumes (Zahra Mansouri) are creative and awesome, with moveable furniture able to transport viewers from South to North Pole, Wonderland through the rabbit hole and a backpack pocket. Lampshades become mad hats, porridge bowls are turned into helmets and a wardrobe becomes a portal to all manner of worlds (take that, Narnia!).

The costumes are works of art in themselves, none more so than Alice’s split personality blue pinafore dress blended with a Red Queen of Hearts outfit.

Battersea Arts Centre has a pleasing “relaxed performance” ethic, which is good when tinies get bored (though there’s little chance for that in this show) and need to be taken out. Or perhaps when they get restless because they need – as do the French Musketeers – a “Yes!” (think about it…)

It’s absurdly nonsensical but utterly brilliant – and definitely a case of all for fun and fun for all!

 

Reviewed by David Guest

Photography by Adam Trigg

 


Goldilocks And The Three Musketeers

Battersea Arts Centre until 31st December

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
How to Survive a Post-Truth Apocalypse | ★★★ | May 2018
Rendezvous in Bratislava | ★★★★★ | November 2018
Dressed | ★★★★★ | February 2019
Frankenstein: How To Make A Monster | ★★★★★ | March 2019
Status | ★★★½ | April 2019
Woke | ★★★ | June 2019
Now Is Time To Say Nothing | ★★★★ | October 2019
Queens Of Sheba | ★★★★ | November 2019
Trojan Horse | ★★★★★ | November 2019

 

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Midlife Cowboy

★★★

Pleasance Theatre

Midlife Cowboy

Midlife Cowboy

Pleasance Theatre

Reviewed – 19th September 2019

★★★

 

“All in all this is a lovely little show with the feel good factor”

 

Grab your stetson, pull on your cowboy boots, it’s time to dosey doe your way down to… Swindon. Yes, you heard right. In comedian Tony Hawks’ infectiously loveable new musical, the ‘tourist-free’ town plays host to the action. Following the everyday lives of its locals, who have a penchant for Country and Western, it’s a warm and relatable tale. What starts out as a wobbly and nerve-filled beginning to the show gives way to an assured, barn stomping second half.

Jane (Debra Stephenson) and Stuart (Tony Hawks) are a married couple who run the dwindling Swindon Country and Western Club, which is at a crossroads – much like their marriage. With only one other member, the socially inept Graham (Duncan Wisbey), they are in dire need of some fresh blood, especially if they want to win the coveted Railway Museum Gala Evening prize for best reenactment group. When two new members arrive, the vivacious Penny (Georgina Field) and kind natured Dan (James Thackeray), it certainly helps to shake things up, for better and for worse. Following the personal ups and downs of this motley crew, can this bunch of West Country cowboys put their issues to one side and show Swindon just what they can do?

It’s a welcome change to have a storyline about middle-aged relationships, especially when musicals are littered with young or first love. The writing and performances can turn a little melodramatic or predictable at times but nevertheless it’s still enjoyable to see a couple stuck in the mud, demonstrating how relationships aren’t always rosy. It’s even more refreshing witnessing Penny and Graham trying to find love again, later in life, forced to use such modern necessities as dating apps.

Tony Hawks and Debra Stephenson don’t quite have the acting chops that the other three supporting roles of Penny (Field), Graham (Wisbey), and Dan (Thackeray) have, but they seem fully aware, as a wonderfully tongue in cheek one liner about the ‘characters’ acting ability proves.

The songs certainly carry the show, highlighting Hawks’ comedy writing talent at its best. While some follow the generic Country music themes of love and heartbreak, others unconventionally ponder over Tinder and the joys of Swindon. The musical talents of the cast are admirable, particularly of the the supporting three who all alternate between playing drums, keys, guitar, bass, sax and oboe to name but a few. Stephenson also shows off her delicately pretty voice that suits her character well.

All in all this is a lovely little show with the feel good factor. It takes the cast time to find their feet but when they do it really does click. The story in Midlife Cowboy may be fairly slight with room to find more depth within relationships, but at the end of the day it’s a musical, there to entertain and play some catchy tunes, which it succeeds in doing. A well and truly yee-hawing good time!

 

Reviewed by Phoebe Cole

Photography by Adam Trigg

 


Midlife Cowboy

Pleasance Theatre until 6th October

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Aid Memoir | ★★★ | October 2018
One Duck Down | ★★★★★ | October 2018
The Archive of Educated Hearts | ★★★★ | October 2018
Call Me Vicky | ★★★ | February 2019
Neck Or Nothing | ★★★★ | April 2019
Night Of The Living Dead Live | ★★★ | April 2019
Don’t Look Away | ★★★½ | May 2019
Regen | ★★★ | May 2019
The Millennials | ★★½ | May 2019
Kill Climate Deniers | ★★★★ | June 2019

 

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