Oh No It's Not, Oh yes it is...Mother Goose.

Mother Goose

Theatre Severn

28th November 2018-6th January 2019

(For Matinees check brochure)

Take an oversized goose, a man in a frock, a narcissistic baddy, a flying fairy, a bevy of villagers and some hilarious one-liners, put them all together and you’re half way to creating the perfect pantomime. To complete the other half bring in Brad Fitt, Eric Smith, Victoria Mc.Cabe, Lisa Davina Phillip, Matt Dines, and Matt Dalen. Mix for at least two acts and there it is…the recipe for a perfect Pantomime.

Theatre Severn have always prided themselves on their Christmas Panto and the combination of Brad Fitt, Paul Hendy and Emily Wood has proved again this year, to be a winning formula.

One could just reel out a list of superlatives and that might come close to describing how good this show is but never one for lists, I think I will fill in the blanks with some more words, to help you understand just what a great show this is.

Observing all the rules of Panto quite apart from the obvious “Oh yes I did,” or “Its behind you,” slapstick fun, this show also offers the pathos and the subtleties that turns a silver egg into a golden one. This is a golden egg of a show.

Brad Fitt again this year excels. Is he the funniest man around? Maybe: No costume too great and nothing he won’t do. He is a daring and multi -talented performer. He makes it look easy and yet there is so much going on that he has to be aware of, but he still finds room for a quick impro’d joke or remark and the audience love him for it.

The sense of fun the players bring to everything they do is what makes this show so moreish.

From the flying Fairy Goodfeather’s opening introduction you know you are in for a great experience. Lisa Davina Phillip makes a wonderful fairy and wins hearts almost immediately. Luckily she seems to have no issue with vertigo as she spends 90% of her performance time flying across the stage at a substantial height. Hilarious.

Eric Smith’s much beleaguered Squire Squashem is a wonderfully observed role. Initially he appears mean and cruel , however he comes round and Eric catches foibles and little idiosyncrasies that bring this ludicrously named Squire Squashem to life. He is great fun to watch.

Billy Goose and Jill Goose, offspring of the eponymous Mother Goose are loved by the children and they shouted and cheered every time they arrived on the stage. Wonderful; both Matt Dallen and Victoria Mc.Cabe  win hearts and minds almost immediately as the children know that even though there may be baddies ahead  Billy and Jill are their  friends and nothing bad will befall us.

Then of course you meet the archetypical baddy, Demon Vanity. Played spectacularly by Matt Daines. He really is an admirable villain and gets all the Boos and Hisses that children have been dishing out at Panto baddies for centuries. Baddies have to appear from the left as left is considered sinister, sini coming from the word for left. That's just a little convention that these guys have nailed.

The big spend this year has to be the introduction of 3D I will tell you no more for fear of spoiling your enjoyment if you are planning to go to the show. What can be said as fact is, it is utterly amazing. One has seen 3D used before but now creative thinkers are beginning to see the value of 3D as a convention. It is so good. One imagines prior that, maybe it won’t fool you however I dare you to try and look unsurprised at just how good this technology is becoming and how well deployed it is in this show.

Adults tend to put up with these shows “for the sake of the children,” not so at Theatre Severn. The parents were booing, hissing, shouting and cheering louder than the children. Immersion into plot and suspended disbelief appears to be no problem for the Shrewsbury audience.

There is a language developing year on year between the audience and the regular players as whilst there is no reference to other panto’s per se, there are moments that reflect former shows. It’s called intertextuality and reinforces the joke as audience remember they have laughed along before, but that works as an asset as the anticipation of what is about to occur builds and the audience know there is going to be something hilarious that they feel in on.  

What beautiful dancers, from as young of about 9 to about 13 the children dancers were amazing. Not a foot wrong, no egos or one up-manship just a dedicated bunch of children who, it seems to this reviewer were not only intent on getting it right but on making it great. They did.

It’s well done to the whole cast and crew. Every one of them is partly responsible for the stars this review will receive. They work together as a team and plaudits belong to all, not just the few at the front getting the applause, a portion of that applause is to be diverted for everyone who made this possible from costume design to sound to the wonderful lighting and props. The choreographers, the musicians, the writers, producer and director all proved their worth tonight.

This is a truly great show and fully deserves the maximum it shall earn. 

But before I close, as I do every year, I want to thank David Jack the Venue Manager and the rest of the team at Theatre Severn for bringing such a wide and varied programme to the theatre, this year as you do every year. I personally want to extend my thanks and wish everyone in Theatre Severn all the very best for the coming festivities.

Just one job left for me this year and that is to wish to you all a very Merry Christmas and I hope that 2019 turns out to be the one you have waited for. Thank you for reading me. You only have one job left to do too and that is to like and share this article throughout the shire so no one misses the show.

This is a Five Star Review.

Owen J.Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet. Follow hos blogspot at https://owenscribblerlewis.blogspot.com

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