A panto? In March? Oh yes, it is!
We were lucky enough to be invited to come and see the latest masterpiece at the Wales Millennium Centre, Mother Goose. A story following Mother Goose, her husband Vic and all their rescued animal friends, as they go from rags to riches after meeting golden-egg-laying, Cilla the Goose. As the good fairy, Encanta, and the evil fairy, Malignia battle to decided whether humans are inherently good or bad, we watched Mother Goose discover what truly makes her happy when given everything she thought she wanted.
The show is good old fashioned panto fun! Unapologetically hilarious, that had both young and the young-at-heart in stitches. A tongue-and-cheek telling of a silly story that is not to be missed by anyone. And to see beloved, award-winning star, Sir Ian McKellen as Mother Goose have the time of his life on stage made it even better. Ian McKellen, to no one’s surprise, was sensational. The cheeky character brought out a side of him that perhaps many haven’t seen before. The witty lines, the musical numbers and more costume changes than you can count. There really is no one like him.
Unfortunately, John Bishop, who was due to play Mother Goose’s husband, Vic, was not performing last night and will remain on compassionate leave for this week’s run. But although this was a little disappointing, Bishop’s standby Gabriel Fleary did anything but disappoint. The comedic chemistry on stage was impeccable and Fleary did an amazing job at capturing the audiences hearts.
With such a headline name such as Ian McKellen, often other cast members get overshadowed by the stardom on stage. But I was surprised to see something different, each member of the cast had their moment in the spotlight and commanded the stage. Oscar Conlon-Murray as their son Jack and Simbi Akande as energy-company worker and pilot, Jill, where whimsically funny together and their, somewhat awkward, romantic interactions had the audience cracking up.
Sharon Ballard as Encanta and Karen Mavundukure as Malignia guided us through the story with hilarious quips (and whips), and the incredible singing talent took the whole audience by surprise. And we couldn’t forget the animal friends at the rescue: Anne-Jane Casey as Cilla the Goose, Mairi Barelay as Monkey, Adam Brown as Goat, Becca Francis as Penguin, Shailan Gohil as Tortoise, Richard Leeming as Bat, Genevieve Nicole as Puss and Billy Cullum as Bear. Each one steeling the hearts of the audience with every word.
Aside from the immense talent of this cast, what made this show so spectacular to watch was the set and costumes. Liz Ascroft is a true talent, bringing this show to life on stage with some of the most elaborate costumes I’ve ever seen and a set that pulled you into their fairy-tale world. From the abandoned Debenhams to magical Gooseland, the attention to detail and the bright, ornate design of it all make this show something special.
Whether you’re a big pantomime fan, looking for a fun night out or just want to see Ian McKellen recite a few lines of Shakespeare, this is a show that must be seen! Laced with innuendos and double entendres, a raft of popular songs from the pop world and musical classics and enough costume-changes to make your head spin, this show goes all out to devise the perfect example of a pantomime. By the end, the audience was up on their feet, singing and dancing along, and even the grumpiest of people had a beaming smile of their face and were really getting involved. The energy in the auditorium was magnetic and everyone left with not a bad word to say.
Mother Goose will be at the Wales Millennium Centre until the 1st April and tickets are selling fast so get yours now on the Wales Millennium Centre website! Bring your family, bring your friends, this show is for everyone and is not to be missed.
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All Photo Credits to Manuel Harlan