Director:Berwick Kaler and Damian Cruden
Musical Director:Elliot Styche
Reviewer:Sara Jackson and Phil Collingwood
It’s the festive season and for the 36th year, Berwick Kaler returns to the York Theatre Royal with his annual pantomime, this year presenting Old Mother Goose for the entertainment of families.
With his are the familiar faces Martin Barrass, Suzy Cooper and David Leonard. The long-running cast that we have all come to know and love are now a local Christmas institution. Seeing them at this time of year is like sitting around opening presents with those distant family members you only see once a year. And the pantomime certainly draws a warm and loving audience, who lap up all the comical antics that we have come to expect from Berwick’s pantomime.
Once again the Theatre Royal does not disappoint, it contains everything we have come to expect; custard pies, water madness and aerial fun. Leonard as the villainous Dreaded Lurgy has the audience booing and hissing throughout, as he tries to steal Matilda, the Goose who lays the golden egg. He casts spells over Mother Goose’s slightly dimwitted son Puck, played by AJ Powell, who has just discovered that he is King of The Fairies, and Gaylord Tingly Bottom played by Tim Lawrence, to make them both assist him with his evil plan.
With much hilarity and mishaps along the way, good inevitably triumphs over evil and once again we have a sing-along with our favourite characters to celebrate.
The elaborate sets and colourful costumes designed by Phil R Daniels and Charles Cussick Smith are wonderful, and create the pantomime world that the audience is memorised by. There were issues with the microphones throughout and occasionally thing combined with fast talking and sloppy diction make it hard to understand what was being said.
As a returner to the show you may find some of it slightly too predictable. Although the repeated gags and tomfoolery do have a familiar comfortable feeling, it would be nice to see something new and unexpected. Or visiting for the first time you can feel rather like an outsider at the party, missing out on the in-jokes.
But overall, this is a wonderful way to celebrate the Christmas season year after year; here’s hoping for many more.
Runsuntil31st January 2015 | Photo:Anthony Robling