The circus setting of Goldilocks and the Three Bears makes it the perfect fit for clowning magicians Clive Webb and Danny Adams, the father and son double act who are celebrating their 14th anniversary at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal.
Director Michael Harrison and co-writer Alan McHugh have tweaked the familiar plot to make Adams the engine of the show. With Webb as Ringmaster, Adams’ Danny the Clown drives things along with ferocious energy as he aspires to star billing in Rington’s circus, which is under threat from Steve Arnott’s dastardly Baron von Vinklebottom and his animal circus.
Chris Hayward brings sparkle and glamour to the role of circus owner Dame Rita Rington and singer Laura Evans is suitably sweet as the object of Danny’s affections, Dame Rita’s daughter Goldilocks. Wayne Smith, as star act, Starbuck provides a great foyle to Adams and has strong comedy chops to boot.
Jeopardy comes in the form of the three bears – the only talking bears in the world and all Geordies to a paw – who steal the circus takings hidden in Rita’s honey pot. They perform a fantastic telling of the fairytale to Hot Stuff before being bear-napped by Vinklebottom.
Harrison’s pantomime provides the blend of knockabout comedy, speciality acts and pantomime magic that the Tyneside audience has come to expect. The Skating Medini, Berserk Riders and Great Juggling Alfio all ensure the circus work is strong. There are great song choices, tight choreography and skilfully executed set pieces – including a no doubt soon-to-be-ubiquitous Alexa routine. The greatest show on Earth? Not quite, but a contender for the year’s greatest panto.