Emerald City Theatre’s Goldilocks and the Three Bears is just right

You know the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, right? Quick! What’s it about? A little mischievous blonde intruder, helping herself to the room and board of a (justifiably angry) trio of bears, right?

If you go

 

Goldilocks and the Three Bears, now playing at The Apollo Theatre
2540 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago

 

As usual, Emerald City and this new production penned by Stiles & Drewe (under the direction of Ernie Nolan) offer up some whimsically accessible parts of the tale which you may not have expected: have you ever wondered why Goldilocks was in that forest in the first place? And just how menacing were those bears, really?

The show opens with the Three Bears explaining their nice, quiet lifestyle in the woods and – quite honestly – making me crave something warm and porridge-like. A subsequent scene introduces Goldilocks as she accompanies her father into the woods. He’s a lumberjack, and a new road is being built clear through the forest – but what about those bears?

There’s an underlying theme of respect in this production – and, honestly, why has this never before been addressed? (If you barge into someone’s house and break their favorite chair, the takeaway lesson shouldn’t be a fear of getting eaten.) There’s a good bit of refreshing girl power going on in the story as well, specifically concerning Goldilocks’ abilities to help out her dad (even though they clearly rock some soft shoe as a duo). Afterwards, I asked my kids what they thought the show was about: the almost-five-year-old said “not wanting to be lonely in the woods,” but also “making friends.” The three-year-old told me it was about funny bears asking for help making porridge. (See? Something for everyone.)

I’d be hard-pressed to name a standout in this show; Blake Reddick, Claire Kaiser, and Tommy Bullington as the Three Bears are charming and work incredibly well as a trio, and Mary Margaret Roberts and Martin James Hughes as Goldilocks and her father are fun and – strangely, for this tale – sympathetic.

Whether or not you’re familiar with Emerald City’s catalog of fun, high-energy shows, this is definitely the one to see. With enough witty asides for the grownups in the audience – and a cast with downright killer voices that even the youngest theatergoer will dig – this production of Goldilocks and the Three Bears is just right.

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