It’s Christmas time, which can only mean one thing — Berwick and co are back with their annual dose of pantomime rubbish!
The Adventures of Old Granny Goose have set their sights on the Grand Opera House stage, resulting in another year of mischief, onstage mishaps and the usual unhinged story line.
Opening last weekend, The Adventures of Old Granny Goose is at the Grand Opera House until Sunday 8 January 2023.
There is no denying the fab five (Berwick Kaler, Martin Barrass, Suzy Cooper, David Leonard and A.J. Powell) are household names for many in York and have created a legacy which enables their fans to reunite with what feels like extended family, as they come to watch year after year.
I personally have been to over a dozen of Berwick’s legendary pantomimes — like many, being treated by my grandparents and subsequently creating a long-lasting family tradition. Therefore, it was a special opportunity to be able to review this production and I knew exactly what mayhem was in store for me.
The show did have somewhat of a plot, a vague one as is tradition, following Mrs Plum Duff (Berwick Kaler) and her two children Jessie (Martin Barrass) and Cissy (Suzy Cooper) as they struggle to pay their rent in the village of Acomb. Then along comes a giant goose and its golden eggs and things start looking up — but not if the evil Lucifer Nauseous (David Leonard) has his wicked way…
For those less familiar with this team’s pantomime approach, this production may have felt slow and lacking the usual sparkle you may expect. Whilst it showcased some fundamentals: innovative costuming, audience participation and a good vs evil narrative, it needed some modernisation and the use of more contemporary music choices.
David Leonard is undeniably the stand-out performer in the show. Year after year he produces such a fantastic character and has the whole audience fixated on him when he’s onstage. He brought first-class entertainment. David’s duet with Suzy Cooper and then A.J. Powell to the Lou Reed classic ‘Perfect Day’ was an audience favourite.
The beauty of a Berwick pantomime is their inability to follow a script — you could go and see every performance and no two would be the same. The cast deserve all the credit, as despite Berwick Kaler’s best attempts at breaking their character night after night, they remained the professionals they are. Or maybe they’re just used to it by now! Those moments created comedy gold.
Whilst this production did have elements for all ages to enjoy — the ghost scene being a particular hit with young children — the show is best suited to those who are already familiar with the antics of Berwick and his team or those who opt for a less cheesy, more honest pantomime.
I have no doubt that they will all be back again next year, with their usual passion and playfulness which will be a delight to their devoted fan base.
If you would like an afternoon or evening out of the cold to get your annual fix of festive cheer, I would recommend joining in the fun taking place at Grand Opera House York!
The Adventures of Old Granny Goose is at the Grand Opera House until 8 January 2023. Tickets start from £13 and are available here.