Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for the London Palladium’s 2019 festive offering.
The Telegraph: ★★ “Certainly Clary possesses a genuine talent for double entendre, but after the 10th or 20th joke about ‘swallowing swords’ or spending time under a ‘big top’ (circus tent), patience grew a little thin and laughs less frequent. The fairy tale itself was selected for the least demanding plot possible, with every spare second filled with a glitzy set-piece or variety act.”
Evening Standard: ★★★★ “There’s a place for pantos with proper stories but also for the vulgar, celebrity-stuffed, cross-dressing, dance-and-grin version. It’s the art form we Brits have made our own, God help us.”
London Theatre.co.uk: ★★★★★ “As devised, directed and produced again by theatre’s reigning king of panto Michael Harrison, managing director and now co-owner of Britain’s biggest panto producers Qdos (this year responsible for 34 shows around the country, from Aberdeen to Wolverhampton), this may be the most irresistibly entertaining and spectacular panto yet staged by him.”
The Guardian: ★★ “If the production isn’t as family-friendly as it should be, nor is it much like a pantomime. Clary’s reference to “the plot, such as it is” can’t conceal the disregard for story and the effect that has on the shape of the show. This isn’t panto so much as a string of turns: roller-skating, ventriloquism, tap-dancing, and a quartet of motorcycle stunt riders whose exhaust fumes hang in the auditorium throughout the second act.”
Time Out: ★★★ “The traditional panto bits that writer and director Michael Harrison includes are messily tacked on, like a barely-sketched, last-minute romance between Sophie Isaacs’s perma-smiley Goldilocks and Joey the Clown (played by Matt Baker with the puppyish enthusiasm of an ex-‘Blue Peter’ presenter and soon to be ex-‘The One Show’ host). Much of this feels like seasonal box-ticking to partly fudge the fact that this time around, more than ever, with the circus setting as the perfect excuse, this is more variety show than panto.”
The Stage: ★★★★ “Pantomime is a medium with its roots firmly embedded in variety. The framework that Harrison give Goldilocks and the Three Bears showcases this relationship perfectly. There may not be much of a love story, or even a Fairy Godmother, but you’d be hard pushed to find better light entertainment or spectacle in the UK this Christmas.”
The Sun: ★★★★★ “Goldilocks and the three bears is a phenomenal lewd circus which will have both parents and children in hysterics for totally different reasons.”
The Times: ★★★★ “It almost makes you feel sorry for all the other pantomimes. Where else, after all, can you find this much laughter, this much spectacle . . . this much smut?”
Goldilocks and the Three Bears will play at the London Palladium until 12 January 2020.