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Interview: Sleeping Trees - Goldilocks and The Three Musketeers

If you fancy your Christmas panto a little different this year, look no further than The Sleeping Trees' latest offering: Goldilocks and The Three Musketeers. The Trees' Christmas panto always delivers laughs for adults and kids alike, their special brand of fizzing energy and whip-smart writing promises another special show this year. Expect crazy characters, a mish mash of well known stories, original songs and silliness in abundance. We were lucky enough to get some answers to some festive themed questions about the show and their yule tide traditions - have a read below then book a ticket!

Favourite Christmas film?

Madagascar. It’s the Die Hard argument all over again - watch it and see for yourself - it’s a Christmas film and it’s brilliant.

Christmas dinner, what’s on your plate?

Fish and Chips.

Tell us a bit about your new show and where the initial ideas came from.

The initial idea for Goldilocks & The Three Musketeers stemmed from our decision to step away from our usual fairytale mash-up style when it comes to Christmas. Yes it is in the realm of familiar fairytales but the stories we have chosen are deliberately short and more or less unknown (by us at Sleeping Trees anyway). Goldilocks is pretty much about nothing and not one of us actually knows what the Three Musketeers is actually about. As a result we have had to dig deep to create a story that is completely fresh and original. We are excited to be working with BAC too as it is an incredible venue and will be our biggest Christmas endeavour to date. As a result we are nearing towards an end product that is certainly our most ambitious production yet. Who knows - It might be a huge mistake and we will ruin a lot of people’s Christmas holidays. Luckily we have an incredible team working on it who should help steer us away from disaster and into something quite special.

Your last pantomimes also took well known tales and played around with them - what is it about adapting a story that you like?

The reason we like using well know titles is that we can lure the audience into a false sense of security and then as soon as we get the chance we like to turn that expectation on its head. Pretty much any reference we can gather for anything (famous story or character) that is recognisable, the immediate thought when writing or devising is how can we subvert this and end up in a position that leaves the audience thinking ‘how on earth did we end up here?’. In an odd way the reason we like adapting well known stories is that we can keep it fresh. We originally started writing pantomimes specifically because we thought the tradition felt rather dated and needed an injection of energy. We found our style of adapting and our approach to sketch/narrative worked well in the format of pantomime. We’ve always loved the Simpson’s too so it’s really fun to write comedy for family audiences.

Is there a big difference in style between your Christmas shows and your non-seasonal performances?

In some ways yes and in others no. We hardly adapt the way we perform. I think our comedy is generally accessible although there is always going to be a difference in atmosphere between a family performance at 11am and an Edinburgh comedy slot at 1am at the fringe... The biggest difference is the extent of the team. Our pantomimes consist of a lighting designer, stage manager, production manager, director, director of set and costume design and musical director. This is not including the co-production from the venue and all their staff working on the marketing, ticket sales and public relations. It's rather mammoth compared to our usual small team of three writer/performers and a producer. Having way more heads involved naturally creates a shift in style but the essence of Sleeping Trees remains.

I saw that you had Kerry Frampton from Splendid in the room during rehearsals, what was it like working with her?

Kerry is an incredibly inspiring ball of energy and we are lucky enough for her to be directing the show. We have worked with Ben Hales (co-writer on this project and musical director/songwriter/composer/performer - what doesn’t he do right?) for a few years now and we got to know Kerry through him. They both co-run Splendid Theatre. Luckily the stars have aligned and both our companies are working together. Let’s hope it works out.

Funniest rehearsal moment so far?

Coming up with the ‘moment’ of the show. Obviously we can’t divulge this information as #nospoilers is lyfe.

And finally, what are you getting each other for Christmas this year?

Probably fish and chips.

Goldilocks and The Three Musketeers is on at Battersea Arts Centre from the 30th November to the 31st December. Tickets are available here -

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