Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
Reviewed by Matt Forrest
There are certain things in this country that we are renowned for throughout the land: the traditional Sunday roast, the England men’s football team crash out of major tournaments via a missed penalty kick, and of course, celebrating Christmas with a panto! This year the Epstein Theatre is putting on a show, suitable for kids from one to ninety-two!
Goldilocks and the Three Bears sees circus owner, Dame Gertie (Mama G), and her beautiful daughter (Olivia Sloyan) struggling to keep their ‘Big Top’ open. They have a loyal band of employees ready to muck in and go above and beyond to save the circus which include Silly Billy (Brandon McCaffery) and The Ringmaster (David Tag), who both have fallen in love with Goldilocks.
To make matters worse, there is a rival circus in town, headed by the evil Baron Von Vippenall (Timothy Lucas), who has a penchant for animal whips and cruelty. The rival shows are in need of a knockout act that will bring the crowds in, and with rumour of some bears living in the woods nearby, maybe they can become the star attraction both circuses need, but who will get to them in time?
This has everything you want from a panto, spectacular song and dance numbers, stunning acrobatics, visual gags a plenty, some jokes for the kids and a few for the adults too! Add into the mix some super soakers, some fire juggling and an adorable children’s sing-along to close the show and you have the perfect festive family night out.
The show is anchored by two outstanding performances. Timothy Lucas is clearly having a ball as the villainous Baron Von Vippenall, I’ve not heard a more outrageous German accent since the late great Alan Rickman fell from the Nakatomi Plaza! He goads and taunts the audience throughout and his appearance never failed to bring a smile to my face.
Whilst Britain’s Got Talent star Mama G is in fine form as our traditional panto dame. It’s a charismatic performance filled with sass while Mama G displays some wonderful comic timing to match the spectacular outfits.
Olivia Sloyan and Hollyoaks star David Tag are the perfect pairing, both in fine voice, making a lovely couple and a pair of heroes you can’t help but root for.
Brandon McCaffery does a grand job of getting kids involved as Silly Billy – he had the kids hollering in all the right places; it’s a performance as daft as it is fun. The supporting cast worked their socks off throughout, with some great routines and some nice bits of ‘improv’ when some cast members hilariously went off script.
There are numerous big song and dance numbers with the highlights being a dark and brooding version of Queen’s The Show Must Go On,which features some stunning visuals, whilst a near full cast rendition of There’s No Business Like Show Business is just one of many highlights.
With this being Liverpool, there are plenty of cheeky local gags and a few marking this year’s political upheaval for you to enjoy, which go down a treat with the older members of the audience. It’s a hilarious, silly, and thoroughly entertaining production from start to finish, the perfect antidote to World Cup disappointment and Christmas reruns on the telly!
Goldilocks and The Three Bears is on at The Epstein Theatre until 1st January tickets available here.