That master showman and esteemed performance historian Tony Lidington creates pantomimes that are so wonderfully appropriate for the Georgian Theatre Royal. They explore elements and aspects of our showbusiness heritage but are not steeped in aspic. They are alive, vital, bursting with wit and spontaneous energy.
For Babes in the Wood, his third panto here, Lidington goes for an Eastern European setting with a long, bearded band processing up and down the tiny stage. He brings in cute puppets by the score and makes them essential to a plot in which humans are reduced in size. His babes are a pair of teenage girls (Katie Tranter, Sarah Kearsley) and a pair of nice but rather daft princes (Andy Kelly, Tom Burton) plus there is an ambitious tap dancing rabbit with a Hollywood fixation.
Then there is a dame (Dominic Goodwin) to be cherished and loved - feared, in a nice way, if you are within her grasping distance. Goodwin has made himself an essential part of Christmas in Richmondshire and way beyond the skyline. Big on size, big on affection and very much a dame for this theatre.
If there are ghosts at the GTR, and there must be, they will love this pantomime. It could not be in safer hands.