Mother Goose

Date 11th March 2022
Society Horning Amateur Theatrical Society
Venue Village Hall, Horning
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Maxine McFarland
Musical Director Holly Hancock
Choreographer John Thompson, Danielle Sayer


Author: Susan DuPont

Postponed like so many productions, but worth waiting for, last year first time in 40 years of no village pantomime in Horning but now back in business. Reduced seating but an extra performance.

A strong Ben Crocker script with pace and good story line, but set in Scandinavia which was strange but worked, well set up by Maxine McFarlane. Very good musical backing from Holdevig and the Norgs. The sets were excellent, Cliff Knight from Horning Art Group the designer. And costumes very colourful and suitable for the piece, loved the ‘tinies’ as goslings, and baby trolls, and snowmen guards.

The evil Troll, Larry Pendleton, in snowy set opened the proceedings in a role totally unlike anything previous, shouting at all and offering his devious and wicked plan regarding the goose and golden eggs. Facing him in white and with twig and white lights wand, Gemma Farrell as Aurora the good fairy was there to protect and look after the Goose Family, a very nice voice for the songs. Really was a Scandinavian feel to introduce the standard story.

To the Goose family who could not pay the rent: Mother Goose had been double-cast for the Covid possibilities at rehearsals, Robin Baines and Josh Cook played a double act with alternate scenes and very surprisingly this actually worked and we accepted the brightly coloured  dames’ costumes and the flowing dialogue and comedy timing.

The star of the story: Heidi Goose from Julie Barker was a superb mime artist in white, acting every last word but silent, this really kept the attention and such an important role to interpret. Her sister Freya Goose from Michelle Lake an excellent principal girl to interact in the dialogue and how well she worked with Marion Jackson as Sven, the principal boy, and again good voices for this duo.

Unfortunately for Sven and his credibility (which he fought to engage), his uncle Baron Von Rumpensmakka was the ‘baddie’ of the piece and what a glorious part to play. Paul Corfield was in his element as he tried to steal the goose and eggs, a very powerful performance and excellent comedy timing and personality. His Henchmen Gonk and Plonk (Pam Facey and Lynette Foreman) were an excellent duo with timing and fun and supported the Baron to the utmost (loved the ‘goose race’ on their stylish ‘hobby-geese’, a riot of movement).

Other touches included no ghosts but a Moose and a Cuckoo Clock, the Goose Court led by Grand High Snow Goose from Derek Ayley, and the Snowmen patrol led by Boss Snowman. And one should not ignore the huge contribution from the Company as Villagers, Geese, Guards, Snowmen, and a Backing Chorus. All obviously enjoyed the participation on stage again after the lock-down and put lots of energy into the performance.