After six years of performing original thought-provoking shows in Liverpool, Burjesta Theatre are celebrating this festive season with their first pantomime, Mother Goose.
Inspired by the original 1806 Drury Lane shows, Julian Bond, co-founder of Burjesta Theatre, has adapted the script for the modern Merseyside stage. His fellow co-founder, Mikyla Jane Durkan has directed the show in her usual collaborative style, injecting life into the story during rehearsals using input from members of the cast to create a truly original, and wonderfully old-fashioned modern take on the traditional Christmas panto.
The show opens with Mother Goose (Bob Towers) flying on her magical golden egg laying goose (Edmund O’Hare). Looking like a proud red-haired Daenerys Targaryen floating through the skies on her bird of white feathers, Mother Goose lands into a world where her magic will turn a forbidden love story into a surreally colourful comedy – fun for all the family.
The Squire (Peter Durr) is excited about his wedding day. He’s marrying Colinette (Charlotte Thomas), the daughter of the miserly Pennypinch (Maggi Green). But Colinette is in love with Colin (Yahya Baggash) and Mother Goose is not too impressed with the Squire and Pennypinch’s interference in their young love story. After efforts to solve the problem with her magical goose fail, she loses her temper and unleashes a curse that turns the characters into commedia dell’arte characters Harlequin (Yahya Baggash), Columbine (Charlotte Thomas), Pantaloon (Maggi Green) and the Clown (Peter Durr).
The remaining cast members (Teneya Alvarado, George Melling and PJ Murray) play various other multiple roles to add depth and narrative to this fast-moving, traditional comic performance, which kids will love and remind adults what it is to be a kid.
As Harlequin and Columbine try to maintain their love and find the golden egg that will restore them to their original forms, Pantaloon and the Clown are in hot pursuit trying to tear them apart. Will the young lovers ever be reunited as Colin and Colinette or will Pantaloon and the Clown get their way and come between them forever?
Peter Durr gives a stand out performance as both Squire and Clown. His Squire is reminiscent of Hugh Laurie in Blackadder and his Clown pairs beautifully with Maggi Green’s Pantaloon as they perform a wonderfully choreographed piece of physical comedy harking back to silent movies with Charlie Chaplin.
PJ Murray’s skill in physical theatre and mime is unrivaled as he brings life to all his parts whether as the lively sprite, the stinking bin or the vicious cash machine.
The panto is given a local feel with plenty of Liverpool based jokes and song lyrics. As always with Burjesta Theatre, they include thought-provoking elements which will leave you thinking about what money actually means and the impact we’re having on the environment long after the tears of laughter have dried.
Mother Goose runs at The Theatre at the Casa until 13 January. Do not miss this good value People’s Panto. Click here to buy tickets.
D M Day is a writer and actor who lives in Liverpool, England. She writes flash, science and fantasy fiction, and poetry. She is currently working on a war poetry collection and a parallel universe trilogy. She runs acting and writing workshops and performed in the first Liverpool Fringe Festival in June 2017.