This most romantic of pantomimes lets Sally Howard spread her designer wings. Butterfly wings gently flap in the breeze while cute, highly coloured talking fish emerge from a fountain and a fondant pink pram houses the baby. Sheer delight.
Making a strikingly intelligent panto debut, Oliver Pengelly’s excellent, apologetic Wiven Hoe stirs massed the primary schools to ear-splitting frenzy. Ignatius Anthony’s stupid Mack and Gerard McDermott’s idiotic Donald are a verbally dextrous duo, flaunting a gift for both alliteration and physical comedy.
Tim Treslove, now firmly established as the Dame, relishes the corny jokes. Abusing his audience while clad in a series of increasingly eye-watering frocks and head-dresses, he even ventures down into the audience, but only when armed with a giant water pistol.
Roger Delves-Broughton and Christine Absalom’s doting King and Queen are respectively tall and cuddly, while pretty princess Nicola Holmes gets the right man in the end.
Charlie Morgan’s down to earth Essex Good Fairy crosses spells with Siani Owen’s Carabosse, who is as swaggeringly, cacklingly nasty as you could wish.
Fine Time Fontayne has come up with yet another winner, in which Ceri James’s lighting and Marcus Christensen’s sound contributes enormously to great special effects.