Goldilocks and the Three Polar Bears
nytheatre.com review by Wendy Remington Bowie
August 14, 2011
I loved this play. This is a play that I wish I could have on demand to pull out for a rainy, bratty Sunday afternoon as a respite and a good laugh with the added benefit of some superbly and really relate-able lessons. Watching this excellently crafted play by Jerrod Bogard, with music by Sky Seals, was just a delight.
Diva actress GL is on a rampage. Her single-minded focus on her fabulous hair and her star status has turned her into an abusive nightmare of a cast mate. Regardless, her cast decides to carry on and tell her story.
Golidlocks's beleaguered parents are fed up with her selfishness and her constant unwillingness to pitch in around the house. At their wits' end when they receive the astronomical electric bill created by their ungrateful daughter's excessive use of the air conditioning, they decide to ship her off by parcel post to relatives in Alaska. Meanwhile, Momma, Poppa and Baby Bear are on the hunt for a new home now that climate change has caused their former beloved home to melt. They meet a prospector of dubious scruples who sells them another house made of ice in which they rest of all their hopes for a better future. Meanwhile, a Goldilocks unprepared to fend for herself lands in Alaska and finds that the cold is just brutal on her hairdo, and you know that just won't do. She comes across a lovely home (that of the three bears) and decides it would be just unfriendly if she didn't just make herself at home. In this retelling, our entitled Goldilocks not only eats up all the porridge, breaks chairs, and ruins beds, but in her selfish quest for self gratification fills the furnace so full of coal (and even Baby Bear's broken chair) that she melts their entire home away as she dozes away. Having created quite a mess of things, Goldilocks finds that her selfish ways have left her all alone. She's alienated not only her parents and the bears, but the very people who support the telling of her story.
So now, how to mend the situation she's made? How do you treat people; what decisions do you make to create the world in which you want to live? How is one a good team member of this Earth on which we live? What does she want her story to be?
The play uses an epitome of teamwork—the process of creating a play along with a cast and crew—to emphasize the necessity of everyone working together to create the world in which we want to live. It operates on two levels, using both the framework of the fairy tale as well as the meta world of a bunch of people trying to put together a production. The script is just hilarious and is executed excellently by a fantastic cast. I think the adults found it just as funny (in some totally different ways) as the kids did. I found the performances remarkable—both in that they are really freaking superb, and that also they are so comfortable that they are able to be fully responsive to the audience and the always variable situation (Fringe turnover time; add kids: agh!). Wonderfully efficient backdrops and exquisite shadow puppets instantly convey a vast range of scenes. Costumes are fantastically creative. The music is catchy and entertaining.
This company has really created a wonderful piece of theater for kids (though if the opportunity presented itself, I would watch it again even without the excuse of having my kid with me).