Goldilock, Stock and Three Smoking Bears is a deliciously perverted pantomime: channeling the classic fable of Goldilocks and the porridge that was “just right” through Guy Ritchie’s scrappy cult classic, this is not a show to take children to.
Featuring foul-mouthed gangsters who have an obsession with chairs, Scottish porridge makers with faces like gargoyles, and some seriously crude innuendo, the show gets off to a slightly laboured start, with some over-long interactions and the exaggerated style of the performances more buffoonery than wit. There are some neat parodies of Ritchie’s cinematography, with the characters introduced by a wry voiceover in badly-held freeze frames, but with a cast of four playing eleven different roles, there’s a lot of introducing to do.
However, the production gains momentum as Goldilock gets on the wrong side of the local gangsters and the plot takes hold, with more of the jokes hitting their mark. The three bears—“Paddy”, “Winnie” and “Rupy”—skewer a certain kind of entitled rich hipsterdom. There are some inspired meta moments, such as Goldilock reflecting with irritation on how fucking weird it is that there is such a disparity in the temperature of three pots of porridge. It’s a shame that gay sex becomes a running gag, but the farcical finale sequence, fit to bursting with neat slapstick moments, is delivered with aplomb.