10 December 2011
Mother Goose Oxford

""‘Mother Goose’ plays at the Oxford Playhouse until 15th January 2012""

By: Nicholas Newman
If you are looking for good old-fashioned family Christmas fun, then going to see Mother Goose at the Oxford Playhouse certainly fits the bill. Both kids and adults will enjoy this story, full of humour, political comment and fun. Even the song and dance routines were enjoyable. It was great to see and hear the audience laughing, clapping and singing along to the songs that ranged from The Monkey’s ‘I m a believer’ to the Mikado’s ‘Three little maids from school’.

Like all good British panto’s Mother Goose pokes fun at the latest developments in society. This being Oxford, it is full of local references to Oxford United and local Witney MP David Cameron. The audience really enjoyed the jokes made at Cameron’s expense with reference to his role as Prime Minister and his Oxford student days and membership of the Bullingdon Club. Other jokes, made throughout the performance, focused on various celebrities, chavs and the “makeover " programmes that dominate television today. Be on the lookout for references to ‘Little Britain’ and ‘Gavin and Stacy’.

The story opens with the Good Fairy of Garsington (played by Bicester-born Zabrina Norry) and the Wicked Witch of Walberswick challenging the audience as to which panto should be performed. Anyway, the audience decide it should be Mother Goose. The story opens with Mother Goose (played by Chris Larner), who looks like Anne Widdecombe, and family enjoying a day out at the fair. Mother Goose reveals that she is in need of a personal make-over and how, unlucky in both life and love, she is on the look-out for her fifth husband. In fact, she tries to proposition one of the men in the audience despite him being married. As for her children, we find out her tomboy daughter Jilly (played by Nicola Stuart-Hill) and her idiot son Billy, with a curious Australian - Geordie accent? Jilly is in love with the rather foppish Duke’s son, played by actor Gary Albert Hughes, who is currently filming a new television programme for Channel 4 in which he plays the lead.

However, what many of the children in the audience appreciate is the time when Billy throws sweets into the audience. Eventually, he has to use a tennis racket to ensure every kid in the audience gets a chance of some free sweets. I suggest any children planning to go to Mother Goose ensure that they have a seat in the first five rows nearest to the stage to maximise their share of free sweats. I must say the actor who plays Billy (played by Paul Charlton), definitely deserves his reputation as a good comic actor. He certainly managed to get everyone in the audience laughing! One of the most memorable scenes is, when the Wicked Witch (played by Ashleigh Gray), dances in a routine with two smartly dressed young men in sunglasses.

At this point, the Good Fairy and the Wicked Witch start meddling in Mother Goos’s life and Mother Goose’s pet goose (played by Will Hawksworth) lays a series of golden eggs. One of my neighbours in the audience suggested it was a bit like winning the lottery! From then on questions are asked how this prize will change Mother Goose’s life. Will it bring her happiness, beauty and love? Moreover, will the Good Fairy conquer all in the end? Be careful what you wish for in pantoland...

Well to find out if all things turn out well and Mother Goose does find her man, I suggest you will have to visit the panto at the Oxford Playhouse this Christmas and New Year season. One thing is for certain, everyone, including the cast, parents and children will have a great time out!

This show is written and directed by panto king Peter Duncan

Source: Source: http://www.oxfordplayhouse.com/show/?eventid=1789&banner=1

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