The audience at Grangemouth Town Hall were caught in the Young Portonians’ honey trap of fun, laughter, song and dance last week.
‘Goldilocks and the Four Bears’ catches up with the blonde bungalow burglar a few years after her porridge pinching spree. She is preparing to marry the love of her life and her former victims the bears have moved on too, adding another cub to their breakfast table.
Life is good until the evil Esmerelda hatches a plot to open Pandora’s Box and unleash untold naughtiness on the world.
Well so much for the plot.
Any panto worth it’s salt is only as good as its dame and Joseph Garrity may have his knockers, they were plain to see from the balcony anyway, but his Dame Bella was anything but a bust. The sassy saucepot was on top form, changing outfits and hairstyles at a Lady Ga Ga rate - dig those opal fruit slacks - while bantering and bickering with brother Benjamin, a delightfully pompous turn from Samuel Briggs.
The Proclaimers’ jaunty toetapper ‘I’m On My Way’ signalled the start of the gang’s Lord of the Rings-style quest to deal with Esmerelda, a Black Swan-like vamp from Abby Connor who got a barrage of boos every time she let out her trademark chuckle.
Lara Bates was ssssssensational as Essssssssmerelda’s ssssslimey henchman Slug, taunting Goldilocks’ true love Prince Alex, a dashing Kasey Connor who showed her fine singing voice on Disney ballad ‘A Whole New World’ with the lovely Goldie herself Lucy Riley, no slouch when it comes to vocals either, and her mastery of armed combat in a duel to the death with an acrobatic arachnid played by Gail Robertson.
The real hero of the hour was Baby Bear, Joshua Scanlon, a tiny dynamite-packing, nappy wearing fuzzball who got a big “awwwww” whenever he appeared on stage. His furry family included “Rasta Bear” Fred, a cool dude Scott O’Donnell, complete with dreadlocks and a tendency to end every sentence with the word “man”.
Anna O’Donnell sparkled as the icy Snow Queen, who the gang meet on their quest, and Alison McCreadie was suitably wooden as the Guardian of the Forest.
The biggest cheer of the night came for the glow in the dark skeletons, who set their bones to boogie on a memorable musical interlude. This was followed by some footloose neon feet and the obligatory Kenny Loggins accompaniment.
Strangely, for a Young Portonian production, there was a distinct lack of local references even though there was plenty of material with the pantomime that happened down Bo’ness Road a bit earlier in the year.
It was easy to see some topical touches though, including the giant hypnotic eye which recalled a Sylvester McCoy era Doctor Who baddie, surely a tribute to the Doc’s 50th anniversary.
And it seemed most of the female members of the YP chorus, which was excellent all night long, were sporting Katness Everdeen braids to mark the release of the new Hunger Games film.
Like Katness the odds were not always in the Young Portonians’ favour, with the ghost of Jimi Hendrix casting a feedback spell on some mics. His spirit was exorcised thanks to some tinkering from the YP’s blackshirted boffins during the interval.
As with all YP productions, good triumphed in the end and the audience got the chance to sing and do some calisthenics before heading out into the cold night air.