Mother Goose

Date 31st January 2024
Society Hawes Amateur Operatic Society
Venue The Market Hall
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Amy Cockett
Choreographer Amy Cockett

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Author: Richard Hamilton-Leighton

Having grown up in the Yorkshire Dales, it was truly delightful to journey through the picturesque countryside to attend the performance of 'Mother Goose', the Pantomime, presented by Hawes Operatic Society. I must express my sincere appreciation for the production team's efforts in providing theatrical opportunities in remote areas. Such initiatives are not always common, and for young individuals, limited accessibility can hinder their participation – this will always get my commendation.

"Mother Goose" is a pantomime that follows the whimsical adventures of its titular character, Mother Goose. Filled with humour, music, and magical moments, this classic tale is a heart-warming journey of friendship, love, and the power of kindness. Audiences are transported to a charming world where anything is possible, as Mother Goose and her friends embark on a quest to discover the true meaning of happiness.

The titular character ‘Mother Goose’ was played by Graham Di Luca who managed through first night nerves to engage with his audience to provide the fun whimsical moments the audience expect from a Dame. Through a great deal of dialogue, he managed to keep pace throughout. Assisting ‘Mother Goose’, was the goose. This was a fantastic costume, that aided the magic of the production, well done to Tabby Chen-Robinson in animating this costume to life – I particularly enjoyed the laying of eggs throughout.

Gillian Alderson played Mother Goose’s son, ‘Jack’. Alderson opened the show with a rousing number adding energy and an understanding to the characters life in aiding his mother run the farm. Alderson then paired with Iveson harmoniously adding a real comedic chemistry that the audience appreciated.

The pairing of Eva Sleightholm as ‘Jill’ and Matt Alderson as ‘Colin’ worked very well also. This young pair navigated their characters stories well, ensuring their engaging performances were appreciated by the audience.   

Vocal of the night goes to Katie Iveson who played ‘Kitty’ the hired help. Her rendition of ‘There’s a fine, fine line’ was vocally impressive. Not only did she manage to bring vocal prowess throughout she also brought bountiful character to ‘Kitty’ that made the audience laugh with her slapstick comedy style – well done. I also want to commend Christa Fagg Rawlence in her rendition of ‘Sister Act’ to be able to sing as impressively as you did at such a young age is so impressive, please keep up the good work.

The two villain characters were the ‘Demon King’ played by Dan Cockett and ‘Squire Darstardly’ played by Alex Donaldson-Coates. Both these performances had a real depth of character throughout. Not missing a beat, these two performers added great energy and intention to this pantomime. The opening number to Act 2 was particularly impressive which then was repeated as the finale.

‘Demon King’ was aided by his three accomplices; ‘Danny’ played by Emily Pickard Guy, ‘Fanny’ played by Amie Pye and ‘Manny’ played by Cath Eastham. These three added delightful humour to this production, I especially enjoyed their audience participation with the song sheet.

Bringing the good magic was ‘Fairy Queen’ who was played by Steph Donaldson-Coates. This fairy narrated well, making notion to the other fairy tales that she needed to attend. Again, this character added magic and continuity to the plot. 

I must say the ensemble were very impressive in this pantomime, these children and teens managed to navigate the performance skills needed to energise the story. I was impressed by the gymnastics and the singing calibre – especially in ‘Tomorrow’ well done. The costuming for the ensemble needs to be commended also, ‘hats off’ to the wardrobe team for this.

Finally, but by no means least Kudos to this technical team, who managed in a smaller space to create what felt like a full theatrical experience. Lighting was innovative and the sound was balanced beautifully showcasing the cast and band incredibly well.

Thank you for my invitation and thank you again for making theatre accessible in rural communities.