Mother Goose 2018 Review
1st January 2019
Paignton Pantomime Productions
Palace Theatre, Paignton
Director: Iain Douglas
Musical Director: Allan Fouracre
Choreographer: Elaine Johnson
As seen by Joyce Pomeroy
I was in the audience for Mother Goose on New Year's Day, the last but one performance in the run, and how difficult it is to avoid superlatives. This society is in a class of its own. The pantomime is a year-round commitment for the production team and although the rehearsal time is only a few weeks once they begin the actors can have little time for anything else. Such is the depth of the dedication shown by all.
There are a number of elements that help to make a magical and successful pantomime and this production had them all in good measure. Visually it was stunning with charming village scenery and many changes of beautiful costumes. The pool with real fountains and attractive lighting brought an "Ah" from most of the audience, it was indeed magical. The choreography was exciting and fun and the many dances were beautifully performed. Singing too was of a very high standard as the excellent singers had clearly been well rehearsed. The songs were well chosen and accompanied by the superb band.
The casting was very strong. This society is fortunate to be able to call on such talented actors, of all ages. So much energy was in evidence and so many smiling faces. Everyone on stage working hard but so clearly loving every moment. Characterisation was very good. The actors became the person they were playing and made the story real. A good rapport was formed with the audience. The fun with the water pistols left few in the audience untouched and caused much laughter. The pace was slick so the attention of even the very youngest never wavered. Scene changes seemed to happen by magic, demonstrating the strength of the stage crew and careful planning.
Three tiny children came on stage to help Fairy Friendship and Billy Gosling with the community song and they were delightful and looked completely comfortable. Something that does stand out with this pantomime society is that it is all about the audience, especially the children, enjoying fabulous entertainment. There is not a hint of self-indulgence on the part of any of the actors.
A pantomime usually has a moral to absorb along with the story. With Mother Goose, it is that wealth does not bring happiness and can lead to being dissatisfied and wanting more, in this case, youth and beauty. This can turn even a kind generous soul into an avaricious person who is no longer loved or lovable. Better by far to be poor in money terms but rich in friendship, family and love. It is good to see the traditions of panto are loyally upheld. No blurring of edges. Goodies are good and baddies are bad. And good always prevails and everyone lives happily ever after.
Once again Paignton Pantomime Productions have proved that with a fantastic team, a great deal of inspired preparation and total dedication on everyone's part a fabulous family-friendly pantomime can be presented to a near capacity audience at every performance.