Mother Goose reviews starring Ian McKellen

Reviews are in for Mother Goose starring Sir Ian McKellen.

Ian McKellen leads a stellar cast as the grande dame in this festive pantomime also starring comedian John Bishop and West End favourites Anna Jane-Casey and Oscar Conlan-Morrey.

Directed by Cal McCrystal with a script by Jonathan Harvey (Beautiful Thing) Mother Goose features set and costume design by Liz Ascroft with choreography Lizzie Gee, lighting by Prema Mehta, sound by Ben Harrison and puppet design and creation by Chris Barlow. 

This hilarious family-friendly mother of all pantos is a theatrical feast full of fun, farce and more than a couple of surprises that will make you honk out loud.

Mother Goose runs until 29 January 2023 at the Duke of York’s Theatre London.

Book tickets to Mother Goose at the Duke of York’s Theatre

Average Critics Rating

Mother Goose reviews

The Telegraph

"Sir Ian delivers eye-rubbing wow-factor as the greatest of panto dames"

"If this is to be Ian McKellen's swansong, then his bravura pantomime turn as Mother Goose is a fitting end to a glorious theatrical career"

"Sure, it's flimsier stuff than the best, time-honoured fairy-tale classics and, albeit witty, the script, by Bishop’s fellow Liverpudlian Jonathan Harvey, indulges in copious innuendo, along with in-jokes about Derek Jacobi and Judi Dench. But offsetting that tot-befuddling vibe, the whole shiny shebang, directed by Cal McCrystal, is delivered with such warm-hearted zest, festooned with feelgood pop-hit and musicals-derived numbers, it’s hard to imagine anyone failing to benefit from taking a gander."

Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph
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Daily Mail

"What sauce! Dame Ian McKellen is in fine feather for this classic panto"

"The old ham is fantastic. Hair full of rollers, a voice of rattling thunder, chunky pearls, and a bosom that could interfere with tides: Sir Ian McKellen is having a wonderful time."

Luke Jones, Daily Mail
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The Times

"Ian McKellen delivers knockabout fun in a cheerfully chaotic show"

"Ian McKellen had no end of fun in this cheerfully chaotic show, packed full with scattergun gags, which is breaking with convention by going on the road until April. In bleak and cynical times, it’s the kind of knockabout entertainment that we need."

Clive Davis, The Times
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The Stage

"A solid gold hit"

"Flawless writing, excellent design and matchless performances"

"The musical numbers veer from classic Broadway to Boomshakalaka via several killer disco anthems, and Harvey writes so evenly and with such investment in his characters that there are simply no weak links."

"McKellen, Bishop and Conlon-Morrey make a loving, entertainingly dysfunctional family, besieged by a wacky bunch of waifs and strays. Among them, Richard Leeming’s sexually inappropriate Bat and Genevieve Nicole’s assertive Puss in Boots deserve honourable mentions.

However, nothing can compare to the sheer force of nature that is Anna-Jane Casey as Cilla Quack, the truly gifted goose who can tap-dance in crocs and belt out a showstopper between dropping 24-carat eggs."

Paul Vale, The Stage
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The Guardian

"Zany Ian McKellen rules over a fluffy affair"

"If you only come for Ian McKellen, you won’t be disappointed. He plays the indomitable Caroline Goose with rollicking aplomb."

"The production’s plot seems thrown together as a whole, its writing scrappy and its characters blandly generic. The double entendres come thick and fast but are overfamiliar and unsurprising, from “big sticks of rock” to a pun on “cockatoo”. Under the direction of Cal McCrystal, there is an unruliness to the action that seems to come from a lack of cohesion and polish, even within the uproarious bounds of the panto form."

Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Financial Times


"Harvey’s script is wreathed with the obligatory double-entendres and political jokes"

"At the centre of it all is the infectious delight of McKellen, an 83-year-old knight of the realm, hurling sweets around the auditorium and beaming as if he were still his eight-year-old self at his first pantomime. Irresistible."

Sarah Hemming, The Financial Times
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📷 Main photo: Mother Goose - John Bishop and Ian McKellen. Photo Manuel Harlan

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