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February 15, 2010 | by  | in Arts Theatre | [ssba]

Goldilocks and the Three Queers


The first thing that really needs to be noted about this season of Goldilocks and the Three Queers is that it is a workshop season. This is an experimental first performance of an in-progress work which will be given its full airing in a few months in a season at BATS. This is a work with somewhat of a way to go. When it rocks, it rocks. But when it flops, it flounders. But that’s okay, because this is just a tester. A taster of what is to come. I have no doubt that when Goldilocks makes its true debut later in the year that all the complaints I have will be if not totally gone than at least ironed out. There is great potential in this work (some if not most of it realised in this first outing) that one cannot help but await its return with baited breath.


Three Queers live together in San Francisco in what seems to be a hallucinatory memory of 1970. Baby Queer, energetically interpreted by Simon Leary, is days away from the age of consent and plans on much consenting. He also flits into and out of a dream world based around his homemade graphic novel about a fabulously gay superhero. Baby Queer’s dream life is wonderfully performed and delightful to watch so it is rather frustrating when it fizzles out to nothing, seemingly abandoned on the way to the end of the play.

There’s also Mama Queer, Martine Grey channelling Fran Drescher with a drug habit, who seems to be constantly in the middle of an anxiety attack. Which is hilarious, but not really explored enough.

And finally there is the enigmatic Papa Queer, played by Roger Johnson as a more southern priest, that gay rights activist. Which is fine because it makes sense in context. I would have warmed to the character a lot more if more of his lines had not been delivered AT THE TOP OF HIS VOICE. Which worked for the character, but not for the fact that the play is performed in a small concrete room where his voice rings off the walls right into the irritated part of your brain.

The same can be said of Bronwen Pattison’s trailer-trash, Bible-bounding, Southern Belle Goldilocks, who would be much more fun to spend time with if she just put a bit more measure into her delivery.


Rounding out the cast is Chris Tse as Ling Ling, the Queers’ androgynous landlady. Like the similarly named character in production company Short Term Visitor Parking’s previous work Hansel und Gretel, Ling Ling is a grotesque stereotype. Too amusing to really offend, and the fact that this work is coming from a devising process so one has to assume that much of the character arose from the performer helps. But, it is somewhat uncomfortable that this company is making a motif across their work of such a grotesque and negative stereotype. Chris Tse, however, fully commits and has a clear mastery of the nuances of comic timing.

Goldilocks is simply too long. It is rather clearly a nice clear hour of a show, allowed to ramble out to eighty minutes. There is a sense with much of the dialogue that the actors were allowed to riff just a little too long and no one came in and gave it a good prune. The shape of the play also takes great pleasure in allowing the audience to work out what Papa Queer’s mysterious plans are a while before the other characters. Sadly, the ending simply takes too long to occur, going on and rather on, so the audience’s pleasure in having one up on the characters quickly turns to a leaden wait for the inevitable to occur.

Director Adam Donald’s utilisation of the found performance space (a basement on Dixon street) is very skilled as is Fern Karun’s set and lighting. Tane Upjohn Beatson’s live soundtrack is also evocative, fitting and rather groovy.

Goldilocks and the Three Queers has many more hits than misses and you can’t really disagree outright with a show that gives you brownies and cordial. It does however have a way to go but it’s gonna get there. A fun night out.

Goldilocks and the Three Queers
By Short Term Visitor Parking
Directed by Adam Donald
With Simon Leary, Roger Johnson, Martine Grey, Browen Pattison and Chris Tse

11–13, 18–20 Feb 2010
The Basement at 39 Dixon Street
Book at

Part of the 2010 Wellington Fringe Festival


About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

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