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‘Goldilocks’ Gets a Laugh Sentence

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Goldilocks: hungry and tired little girl frightened by hiker-terrorizing bears or house-breaking, porridge-eating, chair-destroying, bed-usurping juvenile delinquent?

It’s up to the audience to decide in Imagination Station’s delightful new chuckle of a show, a two-part “Goldilocks & the Three Bears,” at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica.

The first part of the show, before intermission, is the familiar version of the tale, told with many comical embellishments, as Mama Bear (Sarah Bell), Papa Bear (Jon Reed) and Baby Bear (Shari Getz) leave their hot porridge to frolic off to a teddy bear picnic in the woods, and Goldilocks (Jennifer Brandt) happens upon their cottage.

With well-timed back-and-forth action, Goldilocks’ porridge/chair/bed mishaps, mimed by Brandt with notable skill, are interspersed with the Bear family’s activities. These include happily ransacking hikers’ backpacks for snacks, donning shades for some synchronized pop dancing and meeting up with a couple of ursine pals, Grizzle E. Bear (Paul Rabjohns) and Hair E. Bear (Jake Eberle) for a picnic, games, including hide-and-seek in the audience, and dramatic readings from “Shakesbear.”

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The bear family also encounters a 6-foot-tall green frog (Eberle) who needs a pep talk after his enchantment by a wicked witch, a witty inside joke for anyone who attended the company’s last show, “The Frog Prince.”

When the bears return to find their home vandalized--"I feel so, so violated,” says Mama Bear--they have the miscreant arrested. After a terrific sight gag featuring four Goldilocks (Brandt, Eberle, Getz and Reed) in a police lineup, the show becomes a courtroom comedy. Eberle does comic double duty as both the defense and prosecuting attorneys, while the audience sees a reenactment of what happened from both Goldilocks’ and Papa Bear’s points of view, slightly exaggerated, to be sure: In Papa Bear’s version, Goldilocks maniacally lays waste to the cottage with jackhammer and chain saw.

After the testimony, and after “Barry Mason’s” hilarious chart demonstration of how Baby Bear’s chair actually was damaged has led to a dramatic witness stand confession, the audience is asked to come up with the verdict, with the help of an “applause-o-meter.”

With few props, but with crisp timing and humor successfully targeting both young children and adults, this ensemble effort, reminiscent of traditional British pantomime silliness (without a risque side), is one of the company’s best shows to date.

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* “Goldilocks & the Three Bears,” Morgan-Wixson Theatre, 2627 W. Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, Saturdays, 10 a.m. and noon through May 31. $5-$7. (310) 828-7519. Running time: 1 hour, 10 minutes.

Youthful Perspective: “Powerful Memories, Hopeful Voices” is an unusual exhibition developed by fifth-grade students from Castelar and Mount Washington elementary schools, opening Friday at the Autry Museum of Western Heritage. The work is part of the “Museum Classroom” program, which teams up students, educators and museum staff to explore the multicultural legacy of the American West and raise awareness of careers in museum studies.

The exhibition reflects the journeys of self-discovery and personal family history of 70 young people, who tell their stories through family memorabilia, from photographs to wedding dresses, recollections of immigrant treks to the United States and a celebration of the future.

* “Powerful Memories, Hopeful Voices,” Autry Museum of Western Heritage, 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, Friday through Sept. 14. Museum hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: $3-$7.50. (213) 667-2000, Ext. 336.

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Work Out: Sports enthusiasts of all ages are welcome at a “Sports & Story Hour” at the Storyopolis art gallery and bookstore on Saturday. This sporty event includes appearances by “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” creator Kevin Eastman and Kathryn Hewitt, illustrator of the young people’s book, “Lives of the Athletes.” For a fee, children ages 6 to 13 can participate in an interactive martial arts clinic--participants are advised to attend “dressed to sweat.”

* “Sports & Story Hour,” Storyopolis, 116 N. Robertson, Plaza A, Los Angeles, Saturday, 11:30 a.m. (310) 358-2500. To RSVP for martial arts clinic: (310) 358-2512; clinic fee is $6.


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