Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Court One, Christchurch

17/01/2011 - 29/01/2011

Production Details

Adapted by: Carl Nixon
Directed by: Tim Bartlett

Goldilocks and the Three Bears is “just right” for kids  

GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS are coming to The Court Theatre to entertain families these summer holidays.

Adapted by popular playwright Carl Nixon and directed by Tim Bartlett, the play takes the popular story of a young girl who stumbles into the Bear family home and adds an uppity queen, a love-struck prince and plenty of slapstick humour to create a fun-filled farce for all ages.

The cast are members of The Court Theatre’s improvisation troupe The Court Jesters, which means “they already excel at getting the audience involved and having fun” according to Bartlett. Emma Cusdin plays Goldilocks while Dan Bain, Kirsty Gillespie and Ralph McCubbin-Howell play the three bears as well as several other characters. 

Bartlett has set this version of the fairytale in New Zealand, with the three bears’ house becoming a seaside caravan and the set incorporating plenty of Kiwiana. Bartlett is certain the show “will be fun for all ages”.

Venue: Court One, The Court Theatre
Dates: Monday 17 January – Saturday 29 January 2011
Performances: Mon-Fri 11am & 1pm, Saturday 11am (no shows Sundays)
Tickets: All tickets $9
Bookings: The Court Theatre Box Office, 963 0870 or online at   

 Cast: Dan Bain, Emma Cusdin, Kirsty Gillespie, Ralph McCubbin Howell 

Delightfully irreverent, relevant and fresh with local flavour

Review by Erin Harrington 18th Jan 2011

Carl Nixon’s witty Kiwiana adaptation of Goldilocks and the Three Bears presents Goldilocks with a mystery: her parents admit that they found her in the forest and don’t even know her real name. The only clues to her true parentage are a wicker basket and a (now 12 year old) honey sandwich.

Goldilocks, still exhibiting scant regard for other people’s property, sets out to unravel the mystery of her past and along the way encounters adventure, danger, a family of bears out on holiday and some very silly royalty.

The cast – Court Jesters Dan Bain, Emma Cusdin, Kirsty Gillespie and Ralph McCubbin Howell – bring a wonderful energy to the proceedings, with McCubbin-Howell’s delightfully dorky Prince Wibbly (complete with socks, Roman sandals and a flotation-device steed) standing as an absolute highlight. All do an admirable job of leading the young audience through a slightly complicated series of events and a diverse cast of characters with verve, humour and a good dose of physical comedy.

It is a hard ask for any author or company to find the right balance between engaging the brittle attention spans of small children and entertaining the adults, and Goldilocks mostly hit its mark. However, at times the dialogue and characters felt like they were pitched a little high for the target audience, and some of the wordier portions of exposition were lost on the young audience – especially during the opening of the play, as it was unfamiliar narrative territory. A few of the running jokes and physical gags and didn’t quite hit home, and some of the story’s loose ends weren’t at all dealt with.  

That said, the script is relevant and fresh, with a wonderful local flavour. My own minor criticisms aside, my 7 year old companion loved it, especially those moments where she felt she knew more than the characters. Her highlights were Goldilocks (pretty, but terrible manners), some switcheroo antics with a love potion, the trading of silly insults, any mention of bottoms, the requisite panto ‘he’s behind you!’ moments and Dan Bain’s hirsute and uppity Queen.

The bright and simple set (placed over the pre-existing Cabaret set) looks lovely, evoking the sunshine and landscape of the idealised kiwi summer holiday with a flair of campervan kitsch. The costumes are apt and in some cases very funny, and the use of kiwi music is fitting.

The perpetual recycling of fairy tales for children’s theatre can grow a little wearisome but Goldilocks and the Three Bears is a delightfully irreverent take on an old standard. It kept a theatre full of small children focussed, entertained and almost fidget-free for 45 minutes, and has more than enough going on to make it just as enjoyable, if not more so, for the grownups. 
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