Image Courtesy of TheMarloweTheatre.com
In December 2019, the Marlowe Theatre chose the story of Mother Goose as the outline for the pantomime. While the setting was amazing, as usual with the Marlowe, the stage filled with detailed props and wonderful costumes, the storyline and a majority of the scenes were overtly sexual in our opinion. Some of the scenes that took place during the show were inappropriate for a family audience and you could tell the children were confused by the innuendos. As much as we understand that the pantomime was made to appeal to older crowds as well, it seems that the focus fell too strongly on the mature audience rather than the core younger one.
The story follows Mother Goose (Ben Roddy – who has just celebrated his 10 year anniversary in The Marlowe Pantomime) who is displeased with her appearance and spirals into a dependency of wealth to validate herself. Fairy Goodfeather (Jenna Russell) gifts her Sally, the giant goose which lays golden eggs, in order to help her financial situation. We also witness the much-needed villain of the story, Demon Vanity (Marc Pickering) try to corrupt Mother Goose, emphasising how much the outer-beauty matters. He was a very entertaining character to watch, who we wanted to see more of. His performance was very funny and admittedly quite sexual, however it wasn’t something that bothered because it played into an essential part of the character. Mother Goose, on the other hand, had no need to be written in with all the bawdy scenes. There was a particular moment which made us feel quite uncomfortable: Mother Goose opens a beauty salon, which on stage is sectioned in three different rectangular boxes, in which the client is placed. To demonstrate how it works, Mother Goose is lifted and dropped ‘accidentally’ on the brink of the box instead of in it. To which he mentions that at the end of the day ‘this is a bloke in a dress.’ Then we witness Mother Goose in a bikini, where her ‘breast’ gets caught, by accident, on one of the straps that suspend her in the air. Who we really would have liked to see more of, was Jill Goose (Trina Hill), Mother Goose’s daughter. Her voice shone through so clearly in those few moments that she had.
Overall, the performance was very fun, and filled with improvised moments due to either stage issues or crowd involvement. The energy was amazing and it really pushed the audience’s reaction. The show was very energetic, it was a burst of colour on the stage, however some of the jokes could have been made a bit more appropriate.