Panto Returns To Its Roots With Mother Goose

Mother Goose, Wilton's Music Hall ★★★★☆

By Paul Ewing Last edited 19 months ago

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Panto Returns To Its Roots With Mother Goose Mother Goose, Wilton's Music Hall 4

A terrific cast, a fun story and the atmospheric setting of Wilton's Music Hall combine to make Mother Goose a pantomime worth seeing this festive season.

Roy Hudd writes and stars as the pantomime dame Mother Goose, an old woman who befriends a large and lonely goose. In return, the goose gives her riches beyond her wildest dreams. Naturally, being a poor old woman of meagre means, it goes to her head. She sells her soul and her goose and, well... you can probably guess the rest.

It's clear from the off that husband-and-wife team Hudd and director Debbie Flitcroft know the essence of good panto. There is a battle between good and evil, spectacular costumes and the all-important audience participation, not to mention a mix of songs and some pretty hoary jokes and ad-libs.

Hudd took inspiration for this one from the original Mother Goose pantomime, created in 1902 for music hall legend Dan Leno. At various points in this 21st century performance, it does feel like you're being transported back to music hall's glory days.

Julia Sutton shows off some gravity defying high kicks as fairy Virtue. She also has a couple of fabulous music-hall style songs, which she carries off well. Up against her virtuous performance is Vanity, played with evil seriousness by Gareth Davies. He has been touring playing Fagin in Oliver but admits he is much better as a Nancy. We would tend to agree, particularly in that purple suit.

Other highlights in the cast include comedian Ian Jones as Willy, Mother Goose's son. He keeps the show moving while Ian Parkin, as the stingy squire of the village, gives the show another villain to boo.

Mother Goose is at Wilton's Music Hall until 31 December. Tickets are £15-£30. Londonist attended on a complimentary ticket. Production photos by Matt Crossick.

Last Updated 12 December 2016