This is the best pantomime seen at the Theatre Royal, Winchester, since they went to in-house productions a few years ago. In recent times, the audience participation had been rather limited - but not any more. The opportunities are there from the outset and the audiences love every minute.
James Barry has been clever to mount such an effective pantomime with just a few professionals and local dancers. He has also given the Giant a wife, which makes the story work particularly well. Jenny-Ann Topham excels in this role of the glamorous Mrs Plunder and is the perfect baddie, and many of the dads are suddenly glad they came.
Phil Gallagher works tirelessly as Silly Billy and is an instant hit with all age groups. He keeps the show moving well. Clive Flint is a joy as Mrs Trott and his contribution is so crucial to the success of this production.
Caroline Newman is a confident Jack. She looks good, moves well and brings real quality to the songs. Louisa Ashton gives a new slant to Fairy Flora and the cast is completed by Sophie Ladds (Princess Rose) and Jack Corcoran, who is King Bernard and the minder of the impressive Giant Plunder, whose unexpected dance routine with his wife is one of the highlights of the show.