“Beware, beware, for bears can be scary”
Naturally, Stiles & Drewe are big in Singapore, why wouldn’t they be?! Goldilocks and the Three Bears was originally commissioned by Singapore Repertory Theatre’s Little Company and slots into the composing duo’s trilogy of trios, which will eventually see three mini-musicals based on fairytales that can be performed by the same ensemble of five actors. The third, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, will come in 2016, the first The Three Little Pigs will be seen at the Palace Theatre throughout August having previously had a cast recording released and this, the second, now gets a similar West End studio treatment through SimG Productions.
As a family show, there’s something of a simplicity about the song-writing here but there’s certainly no dip in quality. Stiles & Drewe’s propensity for a bright, direct melody is ideal for this format and the decision to focus the book on the family of bears is a clever one, allowing for a cracking opening trio of songs. ‘A Family of Bears’ introduces the tight family unit of Mother Bear, Father Bear and Baby Bear, ‘Porridge’ neatly covers a breakfast cooking lesson but ‘Beware’ sets up the most interesting notion, the parents warning their child about the scary humans who sometimes invade the woods that make up their home.
Leanne Jones, David Bedella and James Gillan make a hugely charming ursine trio and are rightly the stars of the show. But humans will interfere in nature and Amy Lennox’s forthright Goldilocks is a determined little girl with a marvellously independent streak about her but also much to learn about property rights and respect. She too is warned by her father, Michael Xavier’s Mr Locks, about the scariness of the ‘other’ with a reprise of ‘Beware’ but it is a lesson she has to experience for herself. The tone is pitched just right, never too hectoring but obvious enough for viewers of all ages to grasp the point at large.
Touching and tuneful, environmentally friendly and entertaining too, there’s something delicious about Goldilocks and the Three Bears that is neither too hot, nor too cold, but just right – we should look forward to it appearing onstage somewhere more convenient than Singapore soon! And lastly, if I were a bad and shallow person, I would make a comment about lovely it is to hear Xavier singing a song called ‘Wood is Good’ but I try to be better than that, so I will just content myself with thoughts of him dressed as a lumberjack BUT ONLY BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT HIS CHARACTER IS.