Mother Goose

Salisbury Playhouse

AT last – I’ve found the Holy Grail.

I love pantomimes, me – they are my favourite form of theatre and we go to several every year, the Boy and I.

But the only thing that mars them all, without exception, is the squeaky heroine, who bellows out songs while flapping her hands in what is meant to be a coquettish way.

Not so at Mother Goose, Salisbury Playhouse’s panto for 2014.

And for once, there were no weak links – I don’t think I’ve seen a panto where the whole cast were all so polished and funny.

Working from Mother Goose herself right down to the little dancers they were all ace.

Kieran Buckeridge was hilarious as Mother Goose, with pin sharp timing, as was her on-off man friend the Squire, played by Howard Coggins.

Both fairies, the good and the bad, were funny and fab and, again thank heaven, no squeaking. Ella Vale was excellently dark as Demonica Badegg, the evil fairy, and Fairy Flutter, the good one, wasn’t at all saccharine but made us laugh just as much as the rest – rare in a panto fairy.

There were some genius bits of choreography, from the Laurel and Hardy routine with Billy and the Squire wallpapering, and the superb Torville and Dean routine by the Squire and Mother Goose.

Special mention must be made of the costumes – they were completely brilliant. Watch out for the piece de resistance – Mother Goose’s biplane outfit at the end. Henrietta Worrall Thompson and Teri Buxton should be very proud of their work. And the sets were amazing too – the goujon machine was something else.

If I had to criticise – I’m meant to, aren’t I? – we couldn’t hear the words of the songs very well in the numbers involving the whole cast – I think they may need a little more volume for us to hear the lyrics.

There – that’s all I could find to pick the remotest of holes in. Go have a gander – it’s a cracking show.