Mother Goose Review – Empire Theatre, Liverpool

Mother Goose
Image Source: Manuel Harlan

Show: Mother Goose
Location: Empire Theatre, Liverpool
Date: Tuesday, 28 February 2023
Time: 19.30
Running Time: 135 minutes including the interval
Production Company: Ambassador Theatre Group Productions

Director: Cal McCrystal

Mother Goose has already delighted audiences in Brighton, Chichester, Sheffield, Wolverhampton and London and last night, flew into the Liverpool Empire. John Bishop was made very welcome when stepped out to introduce the Panto and the audience enjoyed every minute of the show.


Written by Jonathan Harvey and directed by Cal McCrystal, the show tells the story of Mother Goose (Sir Ian McKellen) and her husband Vic (John Bishop), who run an animal sanctuary for waifs and strays and live a wholesome life inside an abandoned Debenhams. Unfortunately they owe the evil energy company lots of money and Mother Goose and Vic can’t afford the bills and face eviction! 

However, this is all about to change when good fairy Encanta (Sharon Ballard), gifts them Cilla Quack (Anna-Jane Casey), a goose who lays golden eggs. Bad fairy Malignia (Karen Mavundukure) appears and predicts that Mother Goose’s head will be turned by money and fame…

Song and Dance

McKellen appears in a range of fabulous frocks (set and costume design by Liz Ascroft), all bosoms and padded behind.  We had a bit of Audrey Hepburn, Geri Haliwell and Gloria Swanson styling, and more costume changes than a Celine Dion concert.  There is wonderful chemistry between all the cast, particular Sir Ian and John Bishop and the audience responded enthusiastically.

Their son Jack, (Oscar Conlon-Morrey) keeps everything moving with great comic timing along with his beau Jill Bills (Simbi Akande) and helps to look after the animals.

There are some stand out musical moments, Anna-Jane Casey gave us a wonderfully comical Cilla the Goose and her performance of Don’t Rain On My Parade – an all-singing, all-dancing goose in a pair of orange crocs was fab.  There was also a sing off between the good and bad fairies and the audience loved it all.


There are some amazing showstoppers throughout the show – the cast are brilliantly talented, every single one of them shone with excellent vocals and admirable dance moves.

The show moves on apace and before you know it we are in the second half of the show.  Sir Ian has been the leading man for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre in the UK and on tour abroad.  Recently, he was King Lear at the Duke of York Theatre and just like that we have some Shakespearian prose thrown into the mix you couldn’t hear a pin drop in the theatre during his monologue.  His references to his Middle Earth days as Gandalf were hilarious.

I don’t really want to tell you too much and spoil it but don’t miss this Panto. Pure joy and escapism – pretend you are a child and shout as loud as you like.  Last night’s audience did!  The whole cast wowed the audience and the finale was just ‘fabulous darling’.

Of course everything ends well and the baddies are forgiven.

Click here to get your ticket!

Overall Rating: 10/10 Eggcellent!  (Sorry)