Loughborough’s panto is always one of the fastest paced and jolliest in the region, and evil doesn’t have a chance of triumphing here. But Sion Lloyd’s gravelly-voiced thug of a King Rat and his sidekick, Stinky (Jamie Sheerman), pump volumes of energy into making us think it might. He even has his own loo on stage with a personalised cistern and an elevating seat.
There’s lots of farting, which goes down a storm with the children in particular, and a plethora of dreadful puns which go over their heads completely.
Anna Mitcham, doubling very capably as Alice Fitzwarren, is a feisty, mouthy, crusading Fairy Bowbells, Martin Ballard a stompingly good Sarah the Cook and Natalie Tulloch a clear and confident Dick Whittington, with a refreshing Scottish lilt to the voice.
It’s a good script and an immensely good-hearted panto. Spiky rats get to run amok on a toppling ship, Idle Jack (Charlie Guest) gets the rough and very wet end of the ship’s kitchen slapstick and there’s a magnificently lithe and acrobatic Tommy the Cat (Shiv Rabheru). Just the vast sweep of the mirror ball has the audience in raptures. This is a town that really loves its panto.