Mother Goose may be one of the most traditional pantomines but it must be said that it isn’t one that has stood the test of time. While most theatres are wheeling out the big hitters this time of year such as Cinderella and Snow White, Wilton’s Music Hall picked a tale that is as steeped in history as the venue itself.
Wilton’s certainly has a lot of history. Its recent renovation keeps the vintage flavour of the venue that feels gorgeously festive that makes it the perfect place for a panto. Mark Hinton’s set adds to this effect with beautiful vintage set cut outs that are reminiscent of old toy shop theatres.
Roy Hudd (writer and Dame)’s script keeps to traditions of Panto with plenty of ‘he’s behind you’ moments and adorable kids joining the company which is lovely to watch in a world of X-Factor contestants dressed in tutus. However, at points the show sticks so closely to traditions that the show looses momentum and it could have done with a few more nods to skits that kids love.
This becomes evident in the characters chemistry with each other which at times felt a little ramshackle and slapdash. Annoyingly there are some brilliant performances from Gareth Davies’ villainous Vanity and Julia Sutton’s Virtue (who was utterly delightful as a good fairy) but the script just didn’t give them enough for some truly fun sparring.
As the elderly but kind Mother Goose, Roy Hudd is as adorably doddery as your grandma. He struggles at time with the speed needed for the punchy wit Dames are notable for. He manages to draw out the audience’s sympathy which does help hold the show together, but unfortunately it’s not enough to keep the laughs rolling.
While it’s quite nice to watch a more traditional Christmas show, there are points when Mother Goose feels slightly dated (including Tony Priestly & Paula Patterson’s inappropriate costume designs for the dancers). Luckily excellent performances and a true sense of Christmas Spirit keeps the magic alive in Wapping.
Reviewed by Roz Carter
Photo: Matt Crossick
MOTHER GOOSE plays at Wilton’s Music Hall until 31 December 2016