Goldilocks and the 3 bears

Date 24th January 2019
Society Westovian Theatre Society
Venue Pier Pavillion, South Shields
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Wayne Miller
Musical Director Jonny Winter
Choreographer Stacy Walton

Report

Author: Foster Johnson

As the Noda Regional Pantomime Award Winner for 2018 expectations were high on my visit to review this year’s offering from the Westovians with their production of Goldilocks and the 3 bears.  I was not disappointed as the show proved to be an excellent evening’s entertainment full of colour, great performances, super acting and comedy and not least of all, some marvellous singing and music.  Coupled with quality sets, lighting sound and choreography it had all you could ask for from an audience point of view.

The plot was simple in its telling as the normal story line was transposed to being set in the circus and involved the usual confrontation between good and evil this time to utilise the talents of a family of performing bears to save the circus and prevent it from being taken over by a dastardly alternative circus holder.  It also had as one would expect, the usual slapstick and pratfall routines, audience participation and the like, but under the guidance of director Wayne Miller, Musical Director Jonny Winter and Choreographer Stacy Walton it gelled into a lovely package.

The Principal line up was also first class and on my visit faultless.  Lori Smedley really shone in the role of Goldilocks and on this showing, and with the long list of her performing credentials already to her name for one so young she undoubtedly has a fine career ahead of her. 

The role of Silly Billy was played by Georgia Whale-Spencer and what a tremendous talent she is.  She gave an outstanding performance and commanded the stage with every entrance.  I feel she has the ability to play any role that comes her way but in this part her inborn comedic skill and talent was a delight. 

Robert Wilson Baker took on the role of Dame Dottie Gallop.  It was hard to believe that this was his first venture into “Dame Hood”.  However, he slipped into the part effortlessly and delivered a super performance.  It is vital for the role of dame to have a rapport with the audience and his interaction with them was excellent. 

Jen Normandale is relatively new to the world of pantomime.  You would not have thought so on this showing in the part of Ringmaster Heinkel, the heinous antagonist of Dame Dottie.  However, she is a seasoned and experienced performer who brought all this to bear with a fine interpretation of the part, showing the right balance of the good and evil side of her character.  She also possesses a tremendous singing voice and her interpretations of “Highway to Hell” and “Human” were stunning. 

Lorna Bell as Mystic Sharon is also relatively new to the world of pantomime.  However, she has a fine acting C.V. behind her and slipped into the role with complete ease and comfort displaying a fine understanding of the genre and was not out of place with other members of the cast who are steeped in the pantomime tradition.  She also had fine interaction with the audience.

The Westovians are always keen to support the development of their junior section and in Erin Atack they have another in the long line of up and coming talented performers.  In this show she took on the role of Workie Ticket, the Ringmaster’s aide, and in doing so displayed with confidence and poise the full traits that one would come to expect from a part of this nature.  Playing the part of Baron Wasteland, was Jack Young, another talented stalwart of the Society.  This type of role is something of a mixed bag for actors.  It can be a nothing type of role which is only used to make up the numbers but Jack used all the ability he has to make this a vital part of the show. 

Jen Stevens is an award winning singer in her own right and in the part of Daddy Bear she displayed what a tremendous vocal range she has with her rendition of He’s My Boy and The Proclaimers 500 Miles.  She had the audience in the palm of her hand.  Oh, and by the way, she is no mean actor too. 

Katie Stubbs as Mammy Bear has been in the world of entertainment since she was nine.  Her credits make excellent reading and this has culminated in this first principal role which she portrayed very well.  She held her own against more seasoned performers and did so especially in the duet with Jen.  On the night of my visit Baby Bear was played by Max Walton who is a national award winning song and dance champion.  This was Max’s first Principal role and all the talent he possesses was clearly on display.  A super job in the role.  I understand that at other performances this part was undertaken by Maisy Tomlin, another award winning dancer.  Congratulations to her too.

Finally, a big well done to the ensemble and also the dancers from Trish and Trina’s Academy for their part in the show.