Mother Goose Cracks One Out review at Above the Stag, London – ‘blissfully irreverent’
This is both Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper’s 10th pantomime for Above the Stag and their first in its new building in the heart of Vauxhall.
Having virtually exhausted the gamut of regular stories, the pair now present a new spin on Mother Goose. This is a story all about temptation and the evils of wealth and Bradfield and Hooper’s script retains the moral message even if, in their hands, it is expertly disguised as bawdy, colourful romp.
Mother Goose requires, unlike most pantomimes, demands an exceptional dame. She’s the driving force behind the story. In Matthew Baldwin, this show has that dame. Returning for his fifth Above the Stag panto, Baldwin has a distinct, charismatic hauteur that chimes with both the writing and the audience.
There is a wealth of fresh talent to support him, including Laura Blair as a bolshy, Glaswegian goose and Liam Woodlands-Mooney as Tommy, the Dame’s frustrated gay son.
Designer David Shields makes excellent use of the new space, fashioning a landscape that includes the mills of rural Rugburn and a solid gold warehouse conversion. With Andrew Beckett directing and Aaron Clingham as musical director, Mother Goose Cracks One Out is quite possibly the best adult panto you’ll see this year.