Maitland Repertory Theatre’s The Girl with the Golden Locks

SERIOUS OPERATOR: Chief Granny (Ryan Hodges) is the head of the Fairytale Bureau of Intelligence (FBI) in The Girl with the Golden Locks.
SERIOUS OPERATOR: Chief Granny (Ryan Hodges) is the head of the Fairytale Bureau of Intelligence (FBI) in The Girl with the Golden Locks.

A PLAY which has fairy tale characters as investigative agents trying to prevent criminal masterminds from destroying a kingdom could appear to be an unusual choice for a school holiday show.

But the young actors who are performing in Maitland Repertory Theatre’s The Girl with the Golden Locks have found it to be a lot of fun.

Maegan Bell, who is 15 and playing the title character, Agent Gold, in one of the two casts, said that Goldilocks was one of her favourite story characters when she was younger.

Here, Goldilocks is the top agent at the FBI – the Fairytale Bureau of Intelligence – who is assigned to lead an investigation into the activities of the notorious Three Bears family on a remote farm.

Agent Gold’s team includes a pair of sisters, Rose Red, known as Agent Red, and Snow White, a nervous rookie referred to as Agent White.

The three are helped in their probe by undercover Agent Wolf, occasionally referred to as “big bad” because he does all sorts of illegal things while finding out what is going on.

The Girl with the Golden Locks is being staged at Maitland Repertory Theatre from July 13 to 28, with 41 performers aged eight to 21 spread over the two casts.

 Zac Smith, who co-directs with Emma Ure, said he came across the script while searching for a good school holiday show on the internet.

“People are familiar with the characters, and it’s a good mix of all the stories,” he said.

The playwright, Brian D. Taylor, grew up on a farm in Oklahoma and became familiar with the nature of the animals. His background led him to focus on writing plays drawn from classic stories, including a musical, Rockin’ Robin Hood, and The Mad Tea Party, using characters from Alice in Wonderland.

The head of the FBI in The Girl with the Golden Locks, Chief Granny, for example, is played in one of the Maitland casts by a boy, Ryan Hodges, who has drawn on his memories of fairy stories to show the seriousness and sternness of that character.

She certainly has new assistant, Little Pig, nervous when bringing her a coffee.

The Three Bears are doing unscrupulous things with beans they are growing on the farm, offering some to a passing boy, Jack, who is trying to escape the nagging of his mother, with the intention of having him use it to help create a beanstalk that they can use in siting a dangerous weapon.

Other characters include witches, the seven dwarfs and a fairy godmother.

The Girl with the Golden Locks has 7pm Friday and Saturday shows from July 13 to 28, with 2pm Saturday and Sunday matinees from July 14 to 22. Tickets: $17.

Bookings: 4931 2800   

Mr Maker and Peppa Pig

TWO characters who are childhood favourites, Peppa Pig and Mister Maker, are coming to Newcastle’s Civic Theatre in school holiday shows next week. Peppa Pig’s Surprise has performances on Monday, July 9, at 2pm and 4pm, and Mister Maker can be seen on Thursday, July 12, at 11am.

The two stage shows have characters from long-running popular British television series for young children. Peppa Pig is an animated series, so the live adaptations feature life-size puppets. And Mr Maker has a real-life performer, with sidekicks known as The Shapes, showing pre-school children how to craft engaging art pictures and objects from things around them.

In Peppa Pig’s Surprise, Peppa is playing outside with her friends on a lovely day. Mummy and Daddy Pig have a surprise in store for Peppa and her younger brother, George, with the piglets unable to work out what it is. Audience members get to interact with the characters in fun and games. The show runs for 60 minutes. Ticket prices range from $34.90 to $39.90.

Mister Maker also includes interaction between audience members and the figures on stage. There are games to be played and prizes to be won. And one audience member will get the chance to join The Shapes in a dance onstage. Children are invited to bring a photo of a favourite drawing or painting to the show, with the prospect of winning a prize. Young Mini Makers will be able to display their own crafty creations in the theatre. The show runs for 65 minutes. Tickets: $39.90 to $44.90.