Pantomime Review: Old Mother Goose - York Theatre Royal ✭✭✭✭

Old Mother Goose
Berwick Kaler as Aggie Goosegog
Photo: Anthony Robling
York Theatre Royal

23rd December 2014: 'Twas the night before Christmas Eve, and another Panto outing for our Steve. Yes, Backstage Pass finally managed to grab a seat for this year's offering, Old Mother Goose. A new Panto, written by Berwick Kaler now in his 36th year at York, Old Mother Goose lays a golden egg of a show, and proves why this Northern bunch are still in the top ten Pantomimes in the country to see every year. Alongside Kaler once again is co-director Damian Cruden, whose Olivier Award winning show 'The Railway Children' is currently showing at London's Kings Cross.

David Leonard as The Dreaded Lurgi
Photo: Anthony Robling
With its lavish sets, wonderful lighting, slapstick routines, water a plenty and a top notch UV scene, York's traditional panto is one to be reckoned with once again. Even if there is a lack of plot (lets face it, who needs it these days with a panto), it is made up with the energy of the cast on stage.

Berwick does a fine job indeed, and it is great to see the old team back on stage again - Martin Barrass, Suzy Cooper, and after a two year hiatus, the return of David Leonard (fresh from London West End's Matilda amongst others).

The West End element is clear from the top of the show, with the opening number 'Hello' from The Book of Mormon, set in the village of Tingly Bottom. Mayhem ensues with the flying Dame Aggie Goosegog (Kaler), The villainous Dreaded Lurgi (Leonard), and Aggie's son and daughter Barney (Barrass) and Margarine (Cooper). Suzy Cooper's character acting is yet again infectious, and as Margarine her many facial expressions spread the laughter amongst the audience - watch out for the quick-change scene for many costume changes which is very cleverly done. Add into the mixture Fairycake Brenda (Hermione Lynch), Puck (AJ Powell) and Gayelord Tingly-Bottom (Tim Lawrence) and this years panto adds a bit of camp into the pot.

Also added in is a film sequence with guest appearance from Harry Gration, and no pantomime is complete without a song sheet and the chucking out of Waggon Wheels and the odd bottle of ale. All this adds up to a very entertaining show, and after a refurbishment of the Theatre coming up, it will be interesting to see if they can top this one (oh yes they will!).

Four stars ✭✭✭✭

Old Mother Goose is laying eggs until 31st January 2015
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