Sir Ian McKellen stars in a touring panto production of Mother Goose

Sir Ian McKellen has hailed the ‘magical’ pantomime after it was announced he will star in a touring production mother goose.

The acclaimed actor, 83, will play the eponymous lead alongside comedian John Bishop as Vic Goose and actor and former Bake Off host Mel Giedroyc as The Goose.

Written by Coronation Street’s Jonathan Harvey and directed by Cal McCrystal, the show opens at the Theater Royal Brighton from December 3rd to 11th before performing at the Duke of York’s Theater in the West End from December 15th to January 29th .

It will then tour the UK until Easter, visiting the Liverpool Empire, Oxford New Theatre, Wales Millennium Center Cardiff and more.

The pantomime tells the story of Mother Goose and her husband Vic, who run an animal shelter and live a healthy life in an abandoned department store in Debenhams, but the sudden arrival of a goose causes an uproar.

The three stars came together to open the show on Monday at London’s Leicester Square Hotel, where Sir Ian climbed out of a giant golden egg before posing for photos with his co-stars.

At the launch, he told the PA news agency: “It’s a serious story told in a funny way. It’s about good and evil, and of course in a pantomime the good always triumphs.

“It uses every device that theater can offer. There’s singing, there’s dancing, there’s rhymes, there’s jokes, there’s mood, there’s audience participation, there’s a man dressed as a woman, a woman dressed as a goose.

“Everything has gone haywire and it’s all for the audience to have a good time. That’s the only reason you’re doing it. But what fascinates me is that it comes from this country. And America, as far as I know, has never seen a panto.”

Sir Ian McKellen will star in a new pantomime this year (Matt Crossick/PA)

(PA Archive)

The production is described as “the ultimate theatrical feast of fun, farce and more than a few surprises that will have you honking your horn”.

Sir Ian, who appeared in drag as Widow Twankey Aladdin at the Old Vic between 2004 and 2006, prompted the government to directly subsidize pantomime.

He said: “I’ve done pantomime before and I had so much fun just because the audience did it. The only reason we do what we do is to entertain people. If they’re not having a good time, then we haven’t done our job properly.

“Of all forms of live entertainment, pantomime is the one where the audience and the performer are actually together. If you can do it right, it’s magic. And actually the state should subsidize the pantomime, because the children come with their parents and their grandparents and their siblings and they all laugh at the same thing – and they are next door to other families who are doing exactly the same thing.

“It’s really simple stuff and live entertainment, there’s not enough of that and it’s so special. You can’t have this pantomime euphoria in front of the television.”

Bishop, who has appeared in recent episodes of the long-running BBC One series Doctor Who as Dan Lewis said, “Let’s face it. He’s a legend, isn’t he? Everyone involved in this production is upping their game a little bit.”

Stage and costume design by Liz Ascroft, choreography by Lizzi Gee, lighting design by Prema Mehta, sound design by Ben Harrison, and puppet design and creation by Chris Barlow.

The show also stars Oscar Conlon-Morrey as Jack, Simbi Akande as Jill, Sharon Ballard as Evil Fairy Malignia, and Karen Mavundukure as Good Fairy Encanta. Sir Ian McKellen stars in a touring panto production of Mother Goose


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