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Theatre Review: Mother Goose--Byre Theatre ***

Joy Watters reviews an entertaining panto.

It’s panto time at the Byre, and Glasgow theatre company Bard In The Botanics again returns east to set up camp bearing the gift of a big helping of daftness. Written and directed by Bard’s Gordon Barr, the audience is whisked off to the land of Fantasia which is hotching with fairy tale characters.

Mother Goose (the inimitable Alan Steele) looks after her large brood, especially her son Bruce the Goose (Robert Elkin in fine form) but their happy endings look like going agly as the baddie, The Snow Queen arrives to wreak havoc. Mother Goose and the Snow Queen have history as the former turns out to be Gerda, stalwart chum of Kai who was carried off by the freezing monarch.

There are lots of tales to be told about the various characters and the Bard crew is backed up by the Byre’s youth casts, full of youthful vim and vigour to take on the large volume of characters from Puss in Boots to Cinderella.

With lots of action, song and dance it bowls along merrily, with Steele’s Dame to the fore hilariously interacting with the audience. Stephen Arden, looking splendid in sparkling silver, creates an arch villainess of just the right calibre while Stephanie McGregor as Little Red Riding Hood brings all her comic talents to bear.

There’s a moral in the tale which is not to vainly pursue youth and beauty but just be yourself. Mother Goose selfishly casts aside her son in the pursuit but sees the error of her ways.

Fun is to the fore though but in the latter stages, the strands of the many stories come somewhat adrift and the show is a tad too long. Still plenty to entertain however.

Runs at Byre Theatre in St Andrews until January 4.

Tags: theatre

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