Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Littlehampton Musical Comedy Society: Baby Bear is just right
Everyone knows the age-old tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears: some lukewarm porridge, a lumpy chair and a rudely-awakened kip.
But Littlehampton Musical Comedy Society have put a twist on the old nursery rhyme in this year's pantomime at The Windmill Theatre in Littlehampton, by turning the bear family into a circus act.
Actor steals the show in Littlehampton Musical Comedy Society’s Dirty Rotten ScoundrelsREVIEW: Dick Whittington by the Littlehampton Musical Comedy SocietyRiding the ringleader's coat tails of the P.T. Barnum musical biopic The Greatest Showman, director Chris Blanchard-Cooper chose this lesser-known production after seeing a version of it performed at The Mayflower Theatre in Southampton many years ago.
It tells the tale of the titular heroine, the daughter of a travelling circus owner who enjoys the thrill of 'going to bed in Bognor Regis and waking up in LA', as the song went.
She befriends the ursine trio and recruits them to dance with her in their circus after their animals are stolen by Baroness Von Trappem, a German Cruella de Vil played convincingly by Charlotte Grimes.
While there were a handful of standout performances, the most notable eight-year-old Summer Gibbons who played the Baby Bear. Every time she came onstage it was accompanied by a wave of 'awws', and I heard someone sat next to me remark: 'she's the star'. I would agree.
Also highly commended were Meg Attrill and Luc Harvengt as Miss Dunn and Mr Dusted, the bumbling sidekicks, whose comic timing set the bar.
The big-top setting lent itself to a 'show within a show'-style set up, which worked brilliantly when four of the dancing ensemble broke into the can-can, including cartwheels and synchronised splits. I could have watched more of this.
And despite some drama and 'he's behind yous' along the way, the show ends with Goldilocks finding her prince and of course breaking into song, with the help of the enthusiastic ensemble - to The Greatest Showman's titular track, no less.
So what did other members of the audience think? Jim Mills from Ferring said: "I thought it was very good, although the orchestra was a bit louder than the singers at times.
"I enjoyed it very much, because it is just pure amateur entertainment, with the performers giving it their all."