We chatted to Oscar about starring the touring production of Mother Goose alongside Sir Ian McKellen and John Bishop.
Hi Oscar, are you looking forward to touring Mother Goose around the UK, what have audiences so far been enjoying in the show? I cannot wait to get Mother Goose on the road! It’s been so wonderful to be in the West End, but it’s time now to take this brilliant show to people who might not ordinarily get to jump on a train to London and see a show – I can’t wait to be playing for my family in Sheffield and to see so many wonderful places in the UK I’ve never visited before. Audiences so far have been enjoying everything about the show. It’s a traditional pantomime in every sense but it’s packed with so much heart and pathos, don’t be surprised if you get teary eyed!
What was it that made you want to be part of the production? I was initially approached for it and was asked if I wanted to do a pantomime and to my shame, my initial answer was no thank you. I had just finished a long run in the West End and I didn’t fancy the idea of a Panto schedule which can often be gruelling – then the Casting Director told me the role would be to play Sir Ian McKellen’s son and I snapped her hand off so quickly. Sir Ian’s Prospero in The Tempest was the first piece of theatre I ever saw when I was six years old at the West Yorkshire Playhouse – so I couldn’t pass this full-circle-moment by.
What have you enjoyed the most about being part of Mother Goose so far? The audiences. We have a moment in the show when we encourage the children in the audience to come up onstage and it gets me teary every time. Seeing how theatre can impact and improve someone’s day/week/life in the way it does, is always a moving experience – particularly when we’ve all experienced the same shared trauma of the past few years.
Could you tell me more about your character Jack? Jack Goose is an adorable cub-scout. He lives in a dilapidated Debenhams on Oxford Street, repurposed into an animal sanctuary for waifs and strays. He is kind and so full of love, albeit he doesn’t quite know how to show it yet and sometimes his best intentions cause problems for his family and the animals. He also likes cake. Typecast.
What has it been like working with the rest of the cast? Absolutely wonderful. Except Anna Jane Casey. She constantly belts out hip-hop classics in her dressing room and steals my sweets.
What do you think that makes pantomimes so special? Pantomime is a British phenomenon. I have tried to explain it to my foreign friends and they look at me perplexed. It is an inclusive and joyous celebration of theatre and live performance. We bring the audience into the action and our sole aim is to make them leave smiling – it’s like an injection of endorphins directly into the heart. Pantomime is also often a child’s first introduction to the world of theatre. It was certainly mine and sparked an obsession that has shaped and coloured my life ever since. If we can do the same for another child out there, it will be worth it.
For those who have yet to see it – what can they expect? Chaos. Utter chaos. Love, laughter, joy, hilarity, cake, ghosts, animals, giant set- pieces, fairies, witches, Gandalf, sweeties, puppets, footballs and lots of eggs! I would recommend not coming in with any expectations – simply sit back and let the madness wash over you. I guarantee you’ll leave with a smile across your face – then come and see me at Stage Door for a squidge!
By Emma Clarendon
Mother Goose continues to play at the Duke Of York’s Theatre in London until the 29th January before continuing to tour the UK. To book tickets visit: ATG Tickets.