We take a close look at what critics have had to say about this latest pantomime at the London Theatre.

(c)Manuel Harlan

The Guardian: **** “This is Rowe’s 15th panto at the Empire – he directs this one, too, marshalling a supporting cast of bouncy teens and tweens, and including a touching tribute to the venue’s 120-year history. His performance, somehow both brassy and delicate, shows why he is a master of the form; he guides and shapes the high jinks without upstaging his co-stars (including the infectiously funny Kat B) even when dressed in Cleo Pettitt’s spectacular costumes.”

WhatsOnStage: *** “Performance-wise it’s less a golden egg than a curate’s. Parker’s villain scenes fall a bit flat, largely due to the convoluted nature of the Faustian bargain, but there are some gamey turns, notably from Hackney regular Kat B as the stooge figure in the slop routine, and Holly Mallett with some divine drumming skills.”

All that Dazzles: **** “If Hackney Empire have a strong reputation for their annual pantos, Mother Goose will only go to further that. A perfectly balanced mix of polished professionalism and utter chaos, this showcased the very best in panto. The eggsemplary cast led by Clive Rowe create a charming and joyful performance which will ensure everybody leaves with a smile as big as if you had just found a giant golden egg. A fitting tribute to the art of panto and Hackney Empire in itself, Mother Goose could be the mother of all pantos.”

London Theatre 1: *** “This is quality, professional, classic panto that avoids too many in-jokes or biting contemporary satire. Perhaps life is hard enough, as 2022 ends and 2023 begins, that ridicule is off the menu and escapism is the special of the day. Regardless, Mother Goose delivers funky sounds; mad, whimsical costumes; some great performances; and purist panto devices. Simple pleasures in complex times may just call for a goose and a gag.”

The Reviews Hub: **** 1/2 “Mother Goose is everything that a pantomime should be, it’s fun, silly and over the top, with panto royalty, Clive Rowe, in the starring role. The costumes by Cleo Pettitt are magnificently eye-catching, while Imagine Theatre’s set makes you feel like you’ve just stepped into a children’s storybook. Hackney Theatre have once again achieved panto perfection.”

Time Out: **** “panto regular Kat B’s hangdog Billy Goose is charming, there’s a very fun flying goose puppet, and while the show doesn’t really do politics, there is one absolutely phenomenal political gag near the end that sort of justifies the whole script.”

The Telegraph: **** “Will Brenton’s script is brimming with extended skits punning the names of chocolate bars, cheesy dad jokes and political salvos about the current cost of living crisis.”

Lou Reviews: **** “Moving along at a cracking pace – even with a short salute to the 120 years of the Hackney(wood) Empire – Mother Goose is one of the best options available this year, with fabulous costumes, a sparkling script with room for a bit of improv, and some amusing bits of slapstick.”

British Theatre Guide: “n addition to Rowe’s barnstorming turn as the grand Dame, there are excellent performances from Rebecca Parker’s deliciously villainous Demon Queen, Gemma Wardle’s perky Fairy Fame, Kat B’s lovable Billy Goose and Tony Marshall’s eccentric Squire Purchase, but Ope Sowande and Holly Mallett’s romance as Jack Goose and Jill Purchase is never afforded any time to really take off. Ruth Lynch effortlessly breathes life into Priscilla the Goose, creating a believable character full of personality, and the Ensemble never falters, bringing vibrancy and dynamism to every scene and musical number.”

Jonathan Baz Reviews: ***** “But the evening of course belongs to Rowe, whose years of panto experience allow him to direct the show brilliantly. His stand-up and put-down work is perfectly timed, a hallmark of his consummate professionalism. Rowe’s costumes are gorgeous (credit to Cleo Pettitt) and as for his voice, when Clive Rowe gets his chops around Ain’t No Stopping Us Now and later on, What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted, one is reminded quite what a star of musical theatre he is.”

The Times: *** “Is Clive Rowe the greatest pantomime dame of the century? Oh, he has had some rivals all right, and in the past few years the glitzier London Palladium pantos have stolen some of the limelight from once predominant Hackney. Yet here he is again as the good-hearted beautician turned gaudy golden egg tycoon Mother Goose. And there is nobody you would rather see in a succession of high-concept costumes; smilingly co-opting a “volunteer” from the crowd; bunging out sweeties and call-and-response catchphrases; showing off serious pipes as he belts out soul classics. Whatever lurid nonsense takes place on this stage, he’s in charge.”

To book tickets visit: https://hackneyempire.co.uk/whats-on/mother-goose/


%d bloggers like this: