Panto review: CADS deliver the mother of all Mother Geese in Churt

Panto review: CADS deliver the mother of all Mother Geese in Churt

From the charming characters to the exceptional use of colour, light and sound, Churt Amateur Dramatic Society’s pantomime Mother Goose is a must-see, writes SARA WILSON-SOPPITT…

It’s first night, I can feel the excitement coming through the ether from the performers who I know are backstage, impatient to come up front and bring the special magic that is panto.

I know CADS always deliver a cracking panto so I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with Mother Goose, the Scandi version.

The story is of Mother Goose’s quest to find her magical snow goose, Heidi. The setting is a magical northern land of snow, troll caves and a palace of lights. The characters, good and bad, are a smorgasbord of everything you want in a pantomime. Delicious.

I was not disappointed. From the moment the evil but strangely endearing troll Smorg (Dom Kirk on his usual excellent form) to the final song with a full cast, it was a panto with the usual terrible gags, bonkers costumes, crazy antics and fantastic characters that everything was tied together with a story thread made of silly string.

But, it was more than that. Ruth Ahmed has created a panto with a heart. It was a panto with warmth. Everyone, from the oldest to the youngest, from the smallest to the largest, was dear.

It was the first stage appearance for Mother Goose’s heroine Freya (Sian Gray) and she was utterly charming (CADS)

The ‘goodies’ first. The fairies Tatty and Batty (Margot Tringham and Maggie Stock) made only a few but most entertaining appearances, carrying their customized B&Q bag. Our heroine Freya (Sian Grey) was extremely charming. It was her first appearance on a stage and I sincerely hope to see her again.

Mia Bicknell gave us a mesmerizing Heidi Goose, a silent role she played beautifully. The hero who won our heroine’s love, Sven, was played with confidence and swagger by Beth Amero. They looked beautiful together.

The ‘bad’ – as well as Dom Kirk’s lovable evil troll, we’re treated to two rather extraordinary villains in Baron von Rumpensmakka (wonderful Chris Deacon) and Gonk, his crazy henchman, (Francis Farrell channels a cross between Frank Spencer and Margot Fountain to an extent that had to be seen to be believed). These two were simply amazing and I loved them both.

We are treated to two rather extraordinary villains in Baron von Rumpensmakka (wonderful Chris Deacon) and his crazy henchman Gonk (Francis Farrell) (CADS)

We’re treated to more villains – terrifying, furry trolls of various sizes and an eerily similar, adorably evil gang of snowmen, led with gusto by their Boss (Dylan Amero). The jolly group of trolls and snowmen were Isabella Amero, Ella Couchman, David Forster, Cassian Gray, Bethany Nicholson, Chloe Peters and Bella Smith. Even the surly Portrait (Chris Angwin) was understandably grumpy, and very colorful in his cavalier’s hat.

Crossing the line between good and evil, the Grand High Goose (April showers that combine strength and warmth) imparted goose wisdom in the final scene, bringing everything to a most satisfying happy ending.

But what about the lady, I hear you cry! The most important character of all, what about her? In this Mother Goose, our lady was played by Buff Cooper in his first appearance in a CADS production. What a warm-hearted, gentle, funny, sympathetic lady he is. We all felt truly happy for Mother Goose when she believed that she had been transformed into a ravishing beauty by Smorg’s magical swamp. An absolute highlight was watching Mother Goose and Baron von Rumpensmakka sing and dance to Rod Stewart’s Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?

The cast of CADS’s Mother Goose clearly had a ball (CADS)

There were many wonderful treats for ear and eye in Mother Goose. It never fails to amaze me what CADS can do with a few bits of wood, some paint and the odd bit of material. True to form, Ruth Ahmed’s creativity and clever use of colour, light and sound made something extraordinary out of thin air.

After joining in on the final song, a rousing Reach for Stars, sung by a happy cast who were clearly having a ball, I walked out into the frosty January night full of warmth.

There’s still time to catch a show – with performances at 7.30pm this Friday and Saturday, plus a 2.30pm show on Saturday. For tickets – £12.50 adults, £8 under 18s, over 65s, concessions and students, £6 Cubs and Beavers, £35 family of four – see

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