The performer, broadcaster and entertainment historian Tony Lidington is directing the Georgian Theatre Royal’s first in-house pantomime of the modern era.
Lidington’s own Dan Leno - The King’s Jester premiered here so it is fitting that the chosen pantomime is Mother Goose, the very panto in which Leno introduced the dame character.
Dominic Goodwin plays Mother Goose and he is quite outstanding. Optimistic, foolish yet loveable, a pointed reminder of Leno’s legacy.
The staging is traditional but definitely not antiquated. Neither is this a formulaic pantomime with the obligatory ghost scene and other bolted on bits. The pit musicians are Georgian costumed but the songs are modern and there are jolly modern references in the script.
An interesting device has the usual good fairy replaced by Benificient, a male wizard. Thomas Frere plays him wearing a splendid ankle length coat, of a type favoured by Georgian era actors, and he looks magnificent. Also dressed from the distant past is Joe Fleming, as Billy Goose, a fine clown and prodigious tumbler. Each character is given good comic business.
This is a pantomime to please the connoisseur and it will involve and excite youngsters and parents. They will be talking about it for a long, long time.