Theatre Review: Goldilock, Stock and Three Smoking Bears @ The Wardrobe 

by Polly Hember

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Goldilock, Stock and Three Smoking Bears, an original production by The Wardrobe Theatre company is enjoying its second run at the little Wardrobe Theatre, tucked away at the back of the Old Market Assembly. The hilarious comedy is a haywire amalgamation of the Guy Richie gangster classic Lock, Stock and Three Smoking Barrels and the gentle nursery tale of Goldilocks. The disparate tales were torn apart, tipped upside down and filled to burst with witty one-liners and slapstick laughs – Goldilock had the packed-out audience in hysterics.

The plot was loosely stitched together and propelled forward with the unstoppable energy of the four cast members who each played multiple parts. Peppered with occasional songs and a rap from Goldilock (Emma Keaveney-Roys) herself, the ludic plot followed the street-savvy protagonist determined to make it on her own who falls into debt from the most notorious gangster (Harry Humberstone) with an unhealthy and hilarious obsession with chairs. Throw in Winston, Rupe (Lotte Allan) and Paddy (Andrew Kingston); three posh bears moving into their first London flat together just round the corner from Uncle Hamish’s Porridge Emporium, run by two Scottish witches right out of Macbeth. A porridgey mess of double, double toil and trouble explodes on stage in a hilarious series of events as Goldilock tries to get hold of dirty money and stolen chairs.

The acting, writing and impeccable comic timing meant this comedy was filled with big-belly laughs from start to finish. The cast wryly acknowledged the giddy plot line and the haphazard nature of the production – from Goldilock leading the audience down a “transition corridor into the next scene” to the hilarious slapstick dénouement where the four cast members ran about on stage behind a small curtain where they would change and reappear as the eleven different characters. This was tongue-in-cheek metatheatre at its best and elicited huge amounts of laughter from the audience. Referencing the production’s own silliness located at the hilarious crossover between cockney slang and nursery rhymes, the lighting and sound added to the hilarity with a cheesy cinematic air, overhead voiceovers and out-of-time sound effects for Paddy’s big bear roars. The biggest laughs came from the three bears, who were cleverly warped versions of Winne the Pooh, Rupert Bear and Paddington Bear with predilections for illicit drugs and casual orgies. 

Humberstone stole the show as the dopey and druggie Winston and as the gruff mobster Harry with his fantastic comic acting; it’s not often that the mere act of dialling a phone number on stage receives prolonged side-splitting laughter from the entire audience.

This light-hearted comedy was propelled by the impeccable comic acting and hilarious production. Goldilock, Stock and Three Smoking Bears was (as Goldilocks would say) just right. Make sure you indulge in this porridgey success.

Image Credit: Paul Blackmore

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