BWW Review: MAMMY GOOSE, Tron Theatre, Glasgow
Mammy Goose runs a cafe in Maryhill with her son Jack and Lucy- her goose friend who she loves like a daughter. The family are having financial difficulty and the evil voodoo queen Vanity Visage offers Mammy a solution to all of her problems- but at what price?
Mammy Goose is written, directed and performed by Johnny McKnight. While McKnight writes the Tron panto every year, he alternates starring in his production with the MacRobert theatre in Stirling. In the role of Mammy, McKnight is a force of nature. From giving it laldy in the song and dance numbers to sitting on the laps of unsuspecting audience members- this is a man who clearly loves panto. The audience participation is done in good humour and is delightfully cheeky rather than done to cause embarrassment.
Darren Brownlie plays Jack Goose, a kind-hearted boy who is desperate to fall in love. Armed with terrible jokes and some excellent dance moves, he's a joy to watch. Julie Wilson Nimmo seems to be cast as a flatulent animal every year at the Tron and this time she's Lucy the Goose with a serious gas problem. Lucy is a huge hit with the younger members of the audience but manages to avoid growing tiresome for the adults.
While Mammy Goose is extremely original, it still has all the makings of a panto. What I find particularly refreshing is that none of the jokes are repetitive. There's the typical 'they're behind you' but the traditional gags never outstay their welcome.
Aside from the signature Mariah Carey anthem at the end of the show, the Tron pantomime features all original songs composed by Ross Brown. The best ones are belted out by Lauren Ellis-Steele who plays Vanity Visage who is the perfect pantomime baddie.
The thing that is probably going to set Mammy Goose apart from other pantomimes is that the love story is one you actually care about. Jack Goose falls for Will Visage, son of the show villain. One of the musical highlights of the show is their duet 'Love Is Love' in Jack's bedroom which features a duvet that is one side Ariana Grande, one side pride flag.
As always, the show is a complete spectacle. Kenny Miller's design is stunning and every surface appears to be covered in glitter. The costumes are beautiful and the makeup artistry (particularly on the Visage family) is fantastic.
The pantomime at the Tron is the one I typically recommend when asked for festive tips. It's one production I find myself really looking forward to all year long and it has never let me down. Once again, Johnny McKnight has written a fresh and unique pantomime with a great big heart that'll bring joy to all ages.
Mammy Goose runs at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow until 6 January 2019.
Photo credit: John Johnston