What: Goose Chase
Who: Riding Lights Theatre Company
Where: Ravenscourt Arts
When: 9th December 2014
This was Ravenscourt Arts’ (a new venue in Hammersmith) first attempt to stage a play / pantomime for families with young children. This reviewer attended two performances on this date – a free daytime one for local school children which was packed and a evening one which carried a ticket price for which there was a good number of spare seats.
Let me give you a brief synopsis of the story line. A Wise Man gets lost on his way following the star and ends up at the home of a sad Baboushka in Russia. The grandma has a goose called Boo as a pet. The wise man is being tailed by Herod’s bullies who wish to kill the child who is to be born in Bethlehem. The Baboushka decides to follow the Wise Man and takes the goose along for the journey, in the hope that the child that is to be born really is a King. All of this takes place in scenes which alternate with other scenes that build-up to the birth in Bethlehem. We meet Mary and Joseph and Ivan, a electric guitar-playing Russian, who is already in Bethlehem for reasons that I wasn’t exactly clear about.
Anyway, the two story lines eventually combine with the goose dressing as a baby in order to distract Herod’s hired assassin for long enough so that the baby and its parents can escape to Egypt. The scenes where the Russian assassin attempts to kill the goose dressed as a baby lead to much “He’s behind you” fun in the manner of a typical English pantomime.
This is the place where the Gospel of Matthew meets the traditional pantomime and you go away feeling that you’ve learnt something as well as being thoroughly entertained!
The cast was made up of a mere four actors: Hannah Blofield (Babushka, Mary); Ivan Scoble (Joseph, Wise Man, henchman no. 1 etc.); Charles Hanley (Ivan, henchman no.2 etc); and Boo the Goose (Boo the goose). Each played their roles with brightness and enthusiasm and gusto. Their singing skills were a little second division but, hey, you can’t have everything and the kids didn’t mind.
“Goose Chase” is now on a UK tour. You’ll do well to catch it!