Young Portonians blow the porridge off the table with pure singing power at Grangemouth Town Hall
and live on Freeview channel 276
The goodies, the baddies, the comical sidekicks and the chorus showed they could all not only carry a tune, but send it spaceward into orbit with all the skill and enthusiasm of a Eurovision Sam Ryder – every one of them would even have brought a wide smile to Simon Cowell’s botoxed fizzogg.
The star of the show, as always, was the dame – and in this production it was Josh Fyvie, who gave a towering performance as Maw Barnaby, a patter merchant of the highest order and, in keeping with the entire show, a fine singer of contemporary song.
Whether dressed as an Alloa Athletic bumblebee or a cute, but still somehow sinister, inflatable koala, Maw was the centre of attention – especially while performing Meatloaf’s I Would Do Anything For Love in Brian May curlers and wearing a table cloth wedding dress.
Her William Shatner-esque spoken word delivery of The Greatest Showman’s From Now On was surprisingly touching, before she gave it laldy and showed she could belt out a tune, on a night that was packed with pure vocal talent.
Goldilocks was a strong female character who showed you panto chicks don’t have to be swooning after some prince in tights all the time and Aimee Malloy’s vocals were astounding on Shrek's Who I’d Be.
Although you’re meant to boo for the baddie, steampunk Vollaper (Darragh Lees) rocked the town hall with her downright evil version of Queen’s I Want It All – one of four musical numbers which really did the business on the night.
The other top turns were the Time Warp and an outstanding version of The Weekend’s Blinding Lights from Sophie Grandison, complete with light up rainbow capes.
However, it was Ballroom Blitz, featuring Maw dressed as a giant inflatable koala, which really got toes tapping.
The comedy came thick and fast all night, with the Mayor (Iris Wilson) sporting Supergrasser Gaz Coombs sideburns – and for some reason accompanied by an American horse track fanfare, introducing his goofy gap toothed daughter Winnie (Emily Reid), complete with Hit Girl purple wig, to Maw’s clown- of- son Willy (Ingrid Hunter), who looked like a long lost son of Ronald McDonald with his red afro.
The comedic couple were a great pair, taking flight during the Time Warp routine, and showing they too – like almost everyone else on stage – were amazing singers.
Talking about tuneful double acts – Mr Pumpkin (Olivia Wilson) and Mr Spice (Beth Rafferty) – came across like Laurel and Hardy crossed with Francie and Josie.
The audience gasped when Spice – dressed up as a glittering Evel Knievel – was fired from a cannon into the balcony of the town hall after he and Pumpkin belted out a high calibre cover of Wrecking Ball.
Holding the plot together by tensile steel – albeit very thin – cables was Mystic Sandra (Hollie MGuire) a fortune teller who spat rhymes out like a spiritualist Eminem to explain to the audience what was going on between scenes, before she too showed off her talented tonsils on I Would Do Anything For Love.
The one mystery – which is explained near the end of the panto – is where was the fourth bear?
Until the big reveal we got to spend time with the cutest family of mammals this side of a public panda enclosure, with furry ear wearing Daddy Bear (Riley Goldie), Mummy Bear (Anna Graham) and Baby Bear (Kiki Newton) at least adhering to some parts of the well worn Goldilocks fairytale.
The audience loved it when Baby Bear said there was a girl in his bed and Daddy Bear sighing he knew this day would come when he was going to have to tell him about the “birds and the bears”.
Writer/director Colin Scott created a new template for the traditional panto – with topical gags aplenty and some shockers, like Maw proclaiming “She’s a greedy wee cow” and deliberately mispronouncing the baddie’s name to state “When I get my hands on that big walloper I’ll ring his neck”.
He even threw in a reference to the famous Not the Nine O’Clock News sketch “Wild, I was absolutely furious” – you know the one with the gorilla in captivity on a chat
And, to be fair, he did stick in the old pantomime cow, which also brought laughs aplenty.
The music was perfect for the panto and the dance routines were upbeat and imaginative – the time warp routine would have had your ailing great great granny up out of her Stannah stairlift and shimmying – thanks to musical director Annie McIntyre and choreographers Lynsey Craik and Paige McGinlay.
Like the 1985 Chicago Bears defence and this season’s league leading Falkirk FC squad, it’s rare that a line up of such a talented and gifted people is brought together for one purpose.
All you can do is enjoy it while you can because we might not see the like again.
So if you haven’t done it already, book tickets to see them on Thursday or Friday or two performances on Saturday.
Goldilocks and the Four Bears full cast list:
Josh Fyvie (Maw Barnaby), Aimee Malloy (Goldilocks), Ingrid Hunter (Willy), Iris Wilson (Mayor), Emily Reid (Winnie), Hollie McGuire (Mystic Sandra), Darragh Lees (Vollaper), Olivia Wilson (Mr Pumpkin), Beth Rafferty (Mr Spice), Riley Goldie (Daddy Bear), Anna Graham (Mummy Bear), Kiki Newton (Baby Bear).
CHORUS – Alyx Jack Bryce, Mollie Campbell, Abigail Chalmers, Martha Forsyth, Molly Gallagher, Corey Li Gentle, Elliot-Rose Goldie, Sohoie Grandison, Amy Isaac, Lochlan Lees, Rebecca McCartney, Olivia Gilbert Quinn, Anna Seal, Ada Stewart