Mother Goose Cracks One Out - Panto
What’s the finest adult panto there is this season? Mother Goose Cracks One Out. Oh no it isn’t! Oh yes it is!
Looks like I’m still in the panto mood after seeing this! And it’s no surprise. After a riotous romp through a classic panto story, complete with a heartwarming dame and her dashingly handsome gay son, lesbian villain and sarcastic goose you can’t help but feel in festive cheer when you leave.
The writers have put on several pantomimes here and with this it feels like they’ve really perfected the art. The plot centres on kind hearted Mother Goose who gives so freely to others she is need of the generosity she so freely bestows on others, when a bet between your friendly neighborhood fairy and a dastardly witch as to whether wealth would make her cruel and uncaring turns her life upside down. This is all presented through a hilarious script that sets out to entertain and entertain is does.
The show takes place in the generic northern town of Rugburn and this is brought to life with some magnificent sets by David Shields. You start with Mother Gooses’s hair salon moving onto a mill and later a gold loft conversion. He ensures the sets give the actors the space they need are evocative and really feed into the joy of the show. This is the first panto at Above the Stag’s new venue and David Shields makes full use of the extra space this allows him with delightful moving 3D sets that would not have been possible on the smaller stage.
The show stays with the traditional panto set up, even calling the audience “boys and girls” and asking us to welcome characters to the stage with various noises or phrases (which incidentally has great comic effect after the audience has had a drink, or two) and there is superb and hilarious interaction with the audience. With an adult panto you end up walking a fine line between audience participation and ending up with hecklers (the cast welcome you with such open arms you can’t help but want to join in) but the cast deal with this in excellent style, keeping people quiet when necessary while never feeling like anyone is being ridiculed which is a great credit to the cast. The jokes come thick and fast and always find their mark with a great mix of the classic and the adult panto filth.
The cast were excellent taking to their roles like a goose to water. Matthew Baldwin’s Mother Goose has such wit but is also tender and endearing, her son Tommy (Liam Woodlands-Mooney) is your traditional handsome hero played with high energy and a great big beating heart. Briony Rawle’s villain is sufficiently dastardly yet through the boos you never want her to leave the stage, the perfect foil to Scott Dale’s sweet and warmhearted fairy. And you won’t forget Laura Blair’s Scottish goose. She is the perfect scene stealer throughout and her interrogation (of herself) will leave you in stiches.
Unless you are a panto villain yourself you will leave feeling uplifted and full of festive cheer. It’s loud, raucous and hilarious and doesn’t miss a beat as it takes you through a warm (and morally ambiguous) story all wrapped up in some shiny gold hotpants. If you like pantos, you’ll love this. If you don’t like pantos, you’ll love this. If you can, see this panto. Just be sure to leave the kids at home.
A solid 5 Laura Michelle-Kelly star production!