2022 - Goldilocks, The Three Bears and The Detectives



Thank you to those of you who attended our pantomime, Goldilocks, Three Bears and the Detectives. We were delighted to receive such positive comments and this review from Duncan and Claire Hamilton.

The Russell Players’ annual pantomime returned to the Swallowfield stage in great style, in a new pre-Christmas slot. Written by local playwright Juliet Devon, the show puts a new spin on this familiar tale with Goldilocks’ evil guardian and her henchmen framing Goldilocks (the charming but feisty Leah Maskell) for the burglary break-in at the home of the Three Bears, and for stealing their porridge.

 The sparkling script, packed with great “one liners” and lots of traditional panto antics was fast paced and the slickness of the production was enhanced by smooth and well -rehearsed transitions and scene changes. Framed as a courtroom drama, the events in question played out in flashback-like all current contemporary drama, it seems! Notwithstanding the incompetence of a bumbling but sympathetic Judge Fairenough, (Glyn Marshall) and a supremely lazy and incompetent Lawyer, Barry Star (David Parsonson), the threatened miscarriage of justice is foiled by an unlikely detective duo -DI Solvit (very ably played by newcomer Andy Witting) and a visiting Australian policeman (a hilarious Crocodile Dundee inspired performance by Nigel Adams).

The audience (very vocal on the night we attended), heartily booed the villain of the piece, the evil Madam Acid, superbly played by the reliably splendid Deni Smale. She and her easily manipulated henchmen (the suitably named Sneak and Snitch played by Milly Wright and Sarah Mapleston) strained every sinew to ensure Goldilocks’ downfall.

There were endearing performances from Mitch Mitchell as Goldilocks’ friend, Woody, and from Mike Hibbitt and Sheila Partington as the gentle and easy-going Papa and Mumma Bear. Young Amber Johnston was splendid as little Teddy Bear and delivered a strong “ Paddington-esque”  style performance .

Special mention must also be made of Lynn Wright, whose domination of the courtroom scenes as the Court Usher, kept everyone in good order.

All these wonderful characters, (beautifully costumed by Hazel Gilingwater and the Russell Players Wardrobe) acted, danced, and sang through an impressive series of woodland glades, rural cottages, and grand mansions, all beautifully designed and painted by Chris Partridge and his team. The courtroom scene, in particular, was very impressive, with great attention to detail. The excellent lighting and sound effects by Bryan Partington, Juliet Devon, and Mitch Mitchell greatly enhanced Maggie Uttley’s highly entertaining and fun-filled production, giving it a truly professional feel.

Duncan and Claire Hamilton.