Lakeland Players lay another golden egg

Panto selfie focus

Mother Goose, Mark Allen and Priscilla the Goose, John Paul Carney taking a selfie with the Ardhowen crowd

The Lakeland Players have done it again, with their 28th offering ‘Mother Goose’ another resounding hit.

Ever since the group first put on Mother Hubbard in 1988 they have been churning out sell out shows at the Ardhowen Theatre. 2015 is no different and a superb cast of all ages perfectly captures the well-known tale.

Poor penniless widow Mother Goose (Mark Allen) and her son Billy (Barry Gibson) face eviction as they cannot pay their rent, but their fortunes soon turn when their goose Priscilla (John Paul Carney) starts laying golden eggs, with Richard Branson soon asking for a loan (I kid you not). Mother Goose is happy beyond her wildest dreams, but her one weakness; vanity,  threatens to destroy her, with the evil Demon King (Ian Blackford) ready to claim the widow’s soul.

Across the board the performances are superb, with the audience, laughing, cheering and hissing in equal measure. The comedy is not in short supply as Barry Gibson has the audience in stitches as the idiotic Billy, while he is ably supported by tweedle dee and tweedle dum in the form of henchmen Snatchitt and Scarper, played with aplomb by Joey Burns and Dave Rees respectively. Where there is good, there is always bad in Pantoland and Ian Blackford is again at his menacing best as the Demon King.

The music is once again magnificent, with director Stephen Kettyles taking a trip down memory lane with hits from acts including The Beach Boys, Abba and S Club 7 to name, but a few. These are wonderfully carried by Catherine Bradley (Tooth Fairy) and the on screen couple Bonnie (Sarah Philips) and Peter (Shannen Sweeney) who return from last year’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk to light up the stage. Stephen Watson (Baron Bankroll), Ashling McCaffrey (Gretchen) and Tracey Kernaghan (Lady Bloodstone) must also be commended for outstanding performances in a flawless production, but the star of the show is without question Mark Allen as Mother Goose. The image of him/her dancing to LMFAO’s ‘Sexy and I know it’ will live with me until my dying day.

The Lakeland Players must get outstanding credit for not only producing top quality entertainment, but for involving a huge number of young school children from across the county in the chorus. Their dancing prowess and skill added further magic to an unforgettable performance.

So for another year the players have laid a golden egg. Credit to all the cast, chorus and backroom staff for their tireless work. Roll on 2016!

Mother Goose, which has ran since last Thursday , January 8, continues each night until Saturday January 17, with a matinee and evening performance.


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