MOTHER GOOSE
Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London E15
Opened 2 December, 1991

Any show that begins with the line, "I'm a fairy, my name's Nuff" clearly has something going for it in terms of bare-faced cheek at least. Less successful is the musical element: the songs (mostly trad R'n'R in style) contain lyrics too clever to be wasted on inadequate amplification. It's always surprising, moreover, to see a cast elect to continue delivering their lines even when inaudible under a barrage of young squeals rather than wait until the decibel level falls again. As a result, much of the schools audience didn't twig a crucial plot twist.

Bill Thomas's Mother Goose is large and comic but not grotesque, Alan Cowan gets some nice moustache-twirling moments as Squire McNasty, and at one point the King of Gooseland (perpetrator of a stream of breathtakingly fowl puns) inadvertently pogos. The sticky situation is saved, as ever, by that stirring combination of "a brave heart, the love of a good woman and a songsheet". All good clean fun, really.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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