Oscar Conlon-Morrey plays Jack in Mother Goose currently at London’s Duke of York’s Theatre before touring the country all the way through to Easter.
The production stars Ian McKellen as Mother Goose, John Bishop as Vic and Anna-Jane Casey as Cilla The Goose.
It is written by Jonathan Harvey (Coronation Street, Gimme Gimme Gimme) and directed by award-winning director Cal McCrystal. Set and Costume design is 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. Casting is by Anne Vosser and the Production Manager is Ben Arkell.
You’re playing Jack in this very special version of Mother Goose, what can you tell us about the production?
I honestly don’t think I have the words to describe it! Pantomime is such a British phenomenon – I have tried to explain it to my foreign friends and they have been so utterly perplexed by the very notion. Mother Goose has everything you’d expect from a pantomime but is also bursting with heart. There’s a reason Sir Ian McKellen is as celebrated as he is – his Mother Goose is sublime and it’s such an honour to share a stage with him.
What are you looking forward to most about doing panto all across the country and right the way through to Easter?
I’m excited to see the cities themselves! There are a few on the list I’ve never visited so I’m most excited to bring our brilliant show to the people who deserve a laugh outside of the Capital. Also, it means that I get so sample the escape rooms in different cities, which is a passion of mine.
How are you bringing yourself into the role of Jack?
I’ll level with you, Panto doesn’t quite require the same level of character immersion as Chekhov. If I’m being entirely honest, before going onstage, I swipe a bit on Tinder, have a shot of Gaviscon and stuff my face with sweets to make sure the Gaviscon is working. Then when I step onto stage and I hear the roar of the crowd, it’s such a huge buzz, I then slip into Jack (ohh Matron).
You’re working with some absolute legends of the industry, what’s that been like?
Remarkable. Every day I learn something new from watching them work. But I’m including the entire cast in that. They’re all legends.
I’m sure there’s been a few laughs along the way so far, what’s been your most memorable moment?
I can’t pick one specific moment or event, but all this company do is laugh like drains, constantly. It’s such a beautiful, supportive and fun-loving environment to work in. There was one moment during the curtain call when our good fairy Sharon Ballard took a tumble in her giant dress and the entire cast rushed to get her back on her feet, but the dress was so enormous none of us could reach her. We didn’t manage to get through all the bows, we dissolved into giggle fits as we finally managed to yank her to her feet. It was brilliant.
And what are the challenges of performing in a show like this?
There is so much audience interaction, you are always at risk of having a wayward heckle or for someone to be stood in the centre aisle when you run down with a bag of sweets – but that is part of the fabric of panto chaos and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see Mother Goose?
What are you waiting for? Get it booked! We all need more joy in our lives, and I promise you, this delivers it in spade-loads. See you at Stage Door for a squidge!