Every sequin in the South East has been commandeered for Paul Hendy’s eye-popping production of Mother Goose.
Hendy has managed to spin out a simple fairy story into a madcap romp involving Mother Goose’s attempt to find youth and beauty, and the Devil Vanity’s attempt to stop her and steal Sally (the agile Kaylee Morley), the goose that lays the golden eggs.
The script fizzes with puns and naughty nudges, some suitable for four-year-olds but many that only adults will appreciate. Ben Roddy, celebrating his 10th pantomime at the Marlowe, towers above the rest as Mother Goose, wearing a series of outlandish neon-bright baby-doll dresses and bloomers.
His nemesis is Devil Vanity, played with Kenneth Williams-style nasal gymnastics and full-throttle pelvic thrusting by Marc Pickering. The warmest and wittiest character is Fairy Goodfeather, played by Jenna Russell, who descends from heaven whenever Devil Vanity needs sorting out.
As Charlie Goose, TV’s Dr Ranj employs his boyish grin and his dance moves alongside his brother and sister, Billy and Jilly (Lloyd Hollett and Trina Hill), and the hard-working Villagers and Young Villagers, all of whom perform with polish.
Musical director Chris Wong shoehorns Beatles songs into the score and makes a cameo appearance as a rock god. A Greek statue with a cartoon six-pack jumps off his plinth and starts twerking; three stunt motorcyclists race around inside a globe and the audience gets a good soaking.