Tag Archives: Battersea Arts Centre

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

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews

 

Queens of Sheba

Queens of Sheba

★★★★

Battersea Arts Centre

Queens of Sheba

Queens of Sheba

Battersea Arts Centre

Reviewed – 18th November 2019

★★★★

 

“What struck most powerfully, though, was the collective soul of their performance”

 

Four women, dressed in black, stand on a bare stage and for the space of an hour, deliver a passionate diatribe against the twin evils of sexism and racism visited on them daily. They are fierce, they are angry, they are eloquent, and they are young black women. 

The experiences discussed here: patronising treatment in white-run offices, dreadful dates with white men who think the women are ‘exotic’, weird assertions of their sexuality and their personalities by black men, were powerfully articulated. They aren’t experiences that I’ve had, but the power and the responsibility of theatre is to make an audience feel things they’ve never previously felt, things that are the experiences of others articulated and embodied by performers. This quartet accomplished that in style. They used wonderfully arranged soul standards, sung a cappella, as leaven in this slightly preachy, torrential statement of their woes. Aretha Franklin songs have only sounded better when sung by Aretha, and their rendition was wonderful.

What struck most powerfully, though, was the collective soul of their performance: lines shared and restated, songs harmonised, movement synchronised, four actors sharing a space and a moment to make a collective statement. They even sighed in harmony. At the end, the audience leapt to their feet in spontaneous standing applause. So many standing ovations are woefully unearned, but this one felt right, like a coming together of actors and an audience that shared their experience. That was quite a moment. Would it have been a better play with less polemic? Very possibly. Would it have spoken so powerfully to the audience if it had been more measured? Almost certainly not.

 

Reviewed by Christopher Lilly

Photography by Ali Wright

 


Queens of Sheba

Battersea Arts Centre until 23rd November

 

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
Trojan Horse | ★★★★★ | November 2019

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews