Reviewed by Louise Watts
It is often hard to beat the good old stories which several generations have read and loved. One such example of this is Goldilocks & the Three Bears. A truly lovely story of a pretty young girl called Goldilocks who enjoys getting into mischief and is constantly searching for her next adventure.
This afternoon (4 April 2017), along with my friend and her 3-year-old daughter, I took my son (aged nearly 3 years) to The Hawth in Crawley to watch Northern Ballet’s performance of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. This was both children’s first introduction to the non-speaking world of ballet. The show is marketed as a ballet for children and whilst the story is certainly aimed at younger children, the quality and content made it suitable for all ages. My three daughters aged 13, 11 and 8 years would have enjoyed the ballet as much as my little boy did. As keen dancer’s themselves, they would have appreciated the pointe dancing and general professionalism of the dancers.
The cast consisted of six dancers who told the story absolutely beautifully. The story started with Goldilocks and her mother in the kitchen where Goldilocks was left alone to watch the cake her mother was baking. Both the opening dancers were incredible and from then on, the standard was set. The other cast members certainly maintained that standard throughout the performance. Goldilocks made friends with a Bluebird and a fox and left the kitchen to wander into the woods. Having lots of adventure in the woods, she forgot about her job to watch the cake and came across a little house where she tried everyone’s breakfast, sat on all the chairs even managing to break one (which was certainly the highlight of the show for my son!) and then fell asleep in their beds! The three bears were funny, believable and worked very well as a family. Even for the youngest in the audience, the story was told without the need for speaking as the actions and the dances said it all. When the bears finally came home and found Goldilocks, the emotional display through dance was brilliant and it was lovely to see the show end with everyone as friends.
The dancers were complemented by a band from the Northern Ballet Sinfonia. This consisted of a cello, keyboard, flute and a clarinet or oboe (I was too far back to tell which it was). The band performed the musical accompaniment to perfection.
The set was simple yet believable and very adaptable. The beds were very clever in the way they slotted together and I really felt drawn in to the little cottage in the woods.
The running time was 40 minutes with no interval which I thought was perfect. All the children appeared to enjoy the performance and there did not appear to be any signs of boredom from any of the audience. I thought this was an absolutely delightful introduction to the world of ballet but also a lovely visual interpretation of this beautiful story.
The Hawth was lovely as always and there was no shortage of children and families making the most of the café today. Hot food was available and the foyer was absolutely packed when I arrived with people enjoying the atmosphere there. Parking here is always easy as there is a large free car park on site. All the staff and volunteers there are very friendly and helpful which makes for an enjoyable experience.
Northern Ballet’s Goldilocks & the Three Bears is currently on tour around the UK, for more information and tour dates visit northernballet.com.
For other shows at The Hawth in Crawley visit www.parkwoodtheatres.co.uk.
The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley, Sussex, RH10 6YZ | 01293 553636