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Mother Goose

Ian McKellen in Mother Goose

I went to my first pantomime. I booked and went to see Ian McKellen as Caroline Goose. I had no idea what a pantomime was.

It turned out that a pantomime, also known as a panto, is a type of musical comedy production typically staged in the United Kingdom around Christmas. The performance is characterized by comedic sketches, music, dance, vibrant costumes, and references to popular fairy tales or children’s stories. The characters often include dames, men dressed in women’s clothing, and principal boys, who women play. The audience is encouraged to participate in the performance by booing the villain and cheering the hero.

“Mother Goose” refers to the collection of nursery rhymes and stories rather than a specific person. Mother Goose is a traditional anonymous figure of nursery rhymes and folk tales for children. Her stories and rhymes have been passed down through oral tradition for generations and have been widely published in children’s literature. The most popular rhymes and stories associated with Mother Goose include “Humpty Dumpty,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” “Jack and Jill,” and “Little Bo-Peep.” Many of the rhymes and stories attributed to Mother Goose have been altered over time, and different versions of them can be found in various cultures and languages worldwide.
I didn’t go for all that; I went for Ian McKellen! His acting fascinated me since I saw him as the villain Magneto in X-Men.

Ian McKellen is a highly respected and acclaimed English actor. He has had a long and illustrious career in theatre, film, and television and is considered one of the greatest actors of his generation. He is best known for his roles in the film adaptations of the novels “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit,” in which he played the wizard Gandalf, as well as his role in the “X-Men” franchise, in which he played the mutant villain Magneto.

McKellen’s stage career began in the 1960s, and he is considered one of the greatest Shakespearean actors of his generation. He has received numerous awards for his work, including multiple Laurence Olivier Awards, a Tony Award, and a Golden Globe Award. He has also been a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and has performed many times at London’s West End theatres. He is also actively involved in various charitable and humanitarian causes and advocates for the LGBT community.
Since I came only for Ian McKellen, I was not disappointed. He sang and danced and lobbed eggs at the audience. He dazzled us with his frou-frou nighties and Margarite Thatcher’s handbag. And he was generous with his double entendres. As he was an act of his own, his colleague John Bishop as Vic Goose brought the pantomime into the play. He dropped many allegories about the state of the nation, Rishi Sunak’s math puzzle and a mention of Suella Braveman.

It was an enjoyable evening. Ian McKellen made up for what the political satire lacked in punch with his presence.
I still need to figure out what the two fairies were doing.

Mother Goose is running till January 29th 2023, in London, after which they will tour the country.

For Booking 

The Duke of York’s Theatre

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