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Mother Goose review at Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield – ‘fresh and fun’

The cast of Mother Goose at Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield. Photo: Robert Day The cast of Mother Goose at Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield. Photo: Robert Day
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Despite hailing from Essex, Damian Williams has become as much a part of Sheffield as Henderson’s Relish and Jarvis Cocker. This year marks his 10th consecutive year playing the pantomime dame at Sheffield’s Lyceum Theatre, and it’s no surprise to see that Mother Goose is pretty much a tribute to Williams, with a script that’s not afraid to be self-referentially meta at times.

Paul Hendy has been associated with the Lyceum even longer than Williams, and this, his eleventh production, bears all his hallmarks. Hendy adds to the formula rather than slavishly following it, so this year the memorable set pieces involve a seven-foot goose dancing to a Bruno Mars song, a stunning 3D sequence, and a fair amount of jokes and references that sail well over kids’ heads but keep the adults chuckling throughout.

Jake Canuso from TV’s Benidorm is an awful lot of fun as the self-explanatory Demon Vanity, and CBeebies’ star Andy Day is an engaging Billy Goose (Buttons, to all intents and purposes). Yet this is Williams’ show all the way, and he’s his usual sparkling self, ad-libbing and throwing out endless puns like a comedy master. He’s an old-school comic in the best possible way, and he really should be a much bigger star outside pantomime.

Hendy’s Evolution Productions has honed its craft to a high degree over the years – even the more formulaic panto parts feel fresh and fun in their hands. Here’s to the next ten years, Mr Williams.

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Damian Williams celebrates his tenth year as Sheffield’s pantomime dame with a typically sparkling performance