The Hamble Players’ latest Christmas show Mother Goose is another testament to their commitment to the noble art of the panto, from bad jokes, silly songs, an outrageously dressed dame and a thigh slapping principal boy to good fairies, hissable baddies and a wonderful dancing goose.

With some fabulous costumes and a good use of lighting, this a fine looking show. The music was well chosen and the dance routines built on the strengths of the performers.

So early in its run the show had not quite hit its stride on the night that I viewed it. There were a few fluffs and pauses and the overall flow a bit uneven with some slightly awkward or abrupt changes of scene. Despite the best efforts of the cast some of the jokes and audience interaction did not quite hit their mark as effectively in the first half as the second. But these issues should resolve themselves as the show settles into its groove and the players relax fully into their roles.

This was a real ensemble effort by the cast and crew who gave it their all and most importantly were enjoying the experience. At the centre was the figure of Wayne Ings as Mother Goose having great fun in an array of frankly amazing frocks. The role of dame requires stage presence and skill in being able to ad lib, both qualities of which he showed in great measure. Susan Barton-Leigh as Billy provided the show with a good dose of fizz and fun and she yet again exhibited a level of energy that is deserving of admiration.

Jasmine Folkes (Colin) and Kiera Dann (Gill) made a sweet couple and sang their roles beautifully.  Lita Buckley and Mandy Boterhoek put a great deal of effort into their roles as the comic duo bailiffs Bill and Ben and worked well together, but even so the material did not always translate across as well as it might.

Cara Thompson (Fairy Friendship) and Peter Revis (Demon Discontent) who both so clearly looked their parts, settled into their roles as the evening progressed. The use of contrasting lighting to frame the good and evil figures at opposite ends of the stage was a nice touch, although the coming and going through side doors and onto the stage was logistically somewhat challenging for Cara in her fairy winged costume.

James Ratcliffe (The Squire), Tara Barton-Leigh (Queen Goosegog) and Jay Skyler-Wright (King Proper-Gander) all performed their roles with aplomb.

But it was Priscilla the Goose of course who was the real scene stealer, a tremendous feat for a non-speaking role. Her egg laying routine is a memory that shall remain with me for a while.

This was a fun way to mark the Christmas season and another enjoyable show from Hamble Players.

Mother Goose 2021 Review
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